Belfast, ME Fire, Oct 1865


BELFAST, Me., Oct. 14.---The fire in this city on Thursday night originated accidentally, at about 11 o'clock at night, in a boat shop at the head of Lewis' wharf, at the foot of Main street, and owing to a low tide, a scarcity of water, and a deficient fire apparatus, a fresh wind soon scattered the flames, and in a short time the buildings on and near the wharf were consumed. The progress of the flames were irresistible, sweeping half the buildings on the west side of Common street, and those on Main street soon ignited the buildings on both sides on Main street from the river to the Whittier block, on the southern side, and to Washington street on the northern side, all of which are in ruins. All Federal street and the western side of Cross street is also entirely burned, including the houses on Spring street up to McClintock's block of dwelling houses and those on the northern side of Miller street.

The fire raged most fearfully for eight hours, when it was checked by the pulling down and blowing up of buildings in nearly every street. Many houses were cleared of their contents. Building after building rapidly yielded to the flames, and at one time the entire destruction of the city seemed inevitable.

Most of the buildings destroyed were of wood, and the walls can soon be replaced.

In the present state of confusion the individual losses cannot be accurately estimated, but they will not amount to less than a quarter of a million dollars, only one-fifth of which is covered by insurance.

The Home Insurance Company, of New Haven loses $10,000; the Dirige Insurance Company, of Portland, $7000; the Home Insurance Company of New York, $5000; the Piscataway, of South Berwick, $4000; the Springfield Fire Mutual Insurance Company, $2500; the Manhattan, of New York, $4000; the Union Insurance Company, of Bangor, $3000; the Morris, of New York, $2000; the Halicke Insurance Company, of Salem, $3000; the Hartford and Putnam, $1000 each; the Thomaston, $4000, and the Lorillard, of New York, $1500.

The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, PA 16 Oct 1865


BELFAST, Me., Oct. 13. A fire last night consumed nearly the entire business portion of this city below Washington and Cross streets. Over 100 buildings were destroyed, and the loss at least is $300,000. The principal losers are S. S. Lewis, Edward Johnson & Co., the heirs of A. J. Morrison, Stevens & Co., and L. S. Smith. The fire was caused by an incendiary. A strong wind favored the flames, which threatened the destruction of the whole city. An engine from Sears-port rendered good service. Commander Wm. D. Whiting of the U. S. steamer Trojan, with his officers and crew, was most effectnal[sic] in subduing the conflagration.

The Farmers' Cabinet, Amherst, NH 19 Oct 1865


THE LATE FIRE IN BELFAST, ME.----We learn from the Progressive Age, published in Belfast, Me., that the total amount of loss from the recent great fire there, will not be much short of $200,000, and that about forty per cent of this amount is insured. The loss in most instances falls upon persons who are not well able to hear it. Sixty-four persons, owners of houses and occupiers of houses and stores, are among the losers. There seems no doubt, after careful examination, that the fire was an incendiary one, but no suspicion seems to attach to any one as being the criminal. There are two fire engines in the town.---- One was useless and was not brought out at all, and the other was old and inefficient. The hose gave out once and again, and it was comparatively worthless. The Age says that with two good hand engines, such as the city ought to have had, the fire could have been stopped at any stage of its progress.

The Farmers' Cabinet, Amherst, NH 26 Oct 1865

On Thursday night, Oct. 12, 1865, one hundred and twenty-five buildings were burnt in Belfast. The loss was estimated at a quarter of a million dollars, about one-fifth of which was covered by insurance. The fire originated accidentally. Owing to a low tide, a scarcity of water, deficient fire apparatus and a high wind, the fire raged for eight hours, and was finally checked by blowing up buildings on nearly every street. Most of the buildings destroyed were of wood.

Besides these, there have been several disastrous fires in smaller places. Perhaps the worst of these occurred in West Buxton, Nov. 15, 1865, which destroyed the mills, a sash and blind factory, the post office, and other buildings, and a large covered bridge across the Saco River.

It is to be hoped that the terrible conflagration in Portland will be the last of the list, as it is the most destructive, and that Maine will for a long season enjoy an immunity from such fearful visitations of fire.

The New York Times, New York, NY 10 Jul 1866

Continued on page 2