Burlington, IA Fire & Explosion, Dec 1890

BURLINGTON'S BIG FIRE.

John Peterson Believed to Have Perished - Burned by a Gas Explosion.

BURLINGTON, Iowa, Dec. 30. - Special Telegram. - Horror has been added to the general gloom resulting from the big fire last night. It is now certain that Mr. John Peterson perished in the flames. He was seen to enter one of the burning buildings just before the walls of Wymann & Rand's Block fell upon it, crushing it to the earth. Peterson can not be found, and his friends have given him up for lost. To-night a picturesque pile of smoking ruins marks the spot where yesterday stood a cluster of Burlington's finest business houses. Wymann & Rand's carpet and furniture house, one of the largest west of Chicago, is a total loss of $125,000, and three other fine buildings are a mass of ruins, while a number of surrounding edifices show marks of serious damage. During the progress of the fire the most intense excitement reigned. Suddenly another big conflagration broke out on South Hill and burned fierecel, with no resistance offered, because the entire fire department was at the down-town fire. A large audience in the First M.E. Church was badly frightened by a dense rain of cinders and sparks that continued to fall over the large structure, setting it on fire at once. A number of cool persons managed to get the audience out safely. A dozen buildings, within several blocks of the main fire, were ignited by flying cinders, but were subdued. The principal losses ar, Wymann & Rand, building, $43,000; insurance, $23,000; stock, $85,000; insurance, $73,000. Kant & Kriechbaim, hardware, building, $6,000; insurance, $4,000; stock, $12,000; insurance, $5,500. Wright Bros., boots and shoes, building, $8,000; insurance, $4,000; stock, $12,000; insurance, $6,000. West End Clothing Store, stock, damaged by water, $14,000; insurance, $11,000. The other damages consist of partially burnt and west stock and office property.

The Daily Inter Ocean, Chicago, IL 31 Dec 1890