Peoria, IL Peoria Market Fire, Mar 1929



Peoria, Ill. -- (AP) -- Fire destroyed the Peoria Market, a four-story brick building in the heart of the business district, early today. Three persons were missing and at least two of them were believed to have been killed when the building collapsed. Damage was estimated at $1,000,000.
Firemen TOM O'CONNOR and RICHARD TEUFEL were missing, the night watchman JOHN STRAYER, could not be found and it was feared he had been burned to death.
The fire broke out at 5 a.m. and quickly spread to the Block and Stahl department store, which adjoins the market. The department store was saved after every fire company in the city had been called out, but the damage to stock and furnishings was extensive. The Market was occupied by a number of retail stores and shops, the origin of the fire was not known.
The victims were two firemen, THOMAS O'CONNOR and RICHARD TEUFEL, killed when a stairway and wall collapsed, and the night watchman at the Market, MILTON STRAYER, who was found dead on the second floor.
Origin of the fire has not been definitely determined. However, fire officials were investigating a report that a gas explosion preceded the flames. Virtually every window in the building had been shattered, the glass falling outward indicating a blast from within. The watchman's body was badly bruised indicating it had been hurled to the floor. Employes told of smelling gas in the building yesterday.
The bodies of the two firemen have not been recovered. They were buried beneath a mass of brick and timber and twisted metal and some time would be taken in digging them out.
The two firemen who were killed were taking their day off today but answered the general alarm which called all firemen to the scene. O'CONNOR was 46 and TEUFEL 34. Each was married.
STRAYER, the night watchman, was 62, and the father of four grown children. When he failed to arrive home this morning at his usual time, two of his daughters went down to the Market to see if any thing was wrong and found it in flames. They collapsed later when the body of their father was recovered from the debris.

Sterling Daily Gazette Illinois 1929-03-22