Burlington, IA Fire, Feb 1860
Fire in Burlington, Iowa. - This day, in Burlington, Iowa, the store and stock of Messrs. Ross & Whipple, hardware-merchants, were burned. Loss $30,000.
Vincent's Semi-annual United States Register, Jan-Jun 1860 page 73
FIRE IN THE HEART OF THE CITY
A General Conflagration almost--A Hardware and Grocery Store Burnt Loss $18,000--Insurance $13,000.
At about 4 o'clock on yesterday morning the hardware establishment of Ross & Whipple, on the south side of Jefferson street, between Main and Front streets, was discovered to be in flames, and before the alarm became general the entire building, three stories in height, was a mass of fire. The engines were soon on the ground, but proved useless, and the entire contents of the building were consumed, leaving only the bare walls. A strong wind was blowing from the north and in a few moments the fire was communicated to the roof of the three story brick building occupied by E. Geschwend as a grocery store, on Main street, the fire communicating to the rear portion. The contents of the store were removed and efforts were made by forming a line of men to the river and passing buckets of water to save the building, but the fire had gained such headway that it was found impossible to subdue it, and the building was left to its fate. The fire left nothing but the bare walls, which were pulled down late in the day.
The surrounding buildings were in imminent danger during the progress of the fire, but by strenuous exertion were saved. It is extraordinary that the whole block was not burnt. Senator Grimes' large block was protected by its slate roof. The whole surface was covered with burning sparks, which could not fail to have ignited had it been composed of any more combustible material. The origin of the fire could not be ascertained, as Mr Ross avers that no fire existed on his premises after four o'clock of the previous evening, and the cause remains a mystery. Yesterday morning about 10 o'clock a portion of the north street, fell with a terrible crash upon the roof of the rear portion of Ben. Ezekiel's clothing store, breaking it in, the whole mass falling upon the first floor. Several persons were almost immediately beneath it, but fortunately escaped injury.