Haverhill, MA City Fire, Feb 1882
This was the starting point in the general spread of the fire on the south side, and the rapidity with which the flames spread was strikingly similar to the events of the opposite side. The department was practically powerless, and realizing this fact, dispatches were sent by Chief West to Lawrence for aid, and the efforts of his men were directed to the saving of the wooden and brick blocks at the end of Washington and Wingate Streets. Building after building on both sides of Washington Street, was soon enveloped in flames, and proved an easy prey.
The entire town had by this time been alarmed, and the streets in the vicinity were thronged with excited spectators. When the fact was known that the burning district was almost exclusively occupied by shoe manufacturers and leather dealers and that the laboring interests of the city were largely confined here also, the situation may be imagined. After mowing down the entire length of both sides of Washington street and taking the buildings on the north side of Wingate street, at 4 o'clock, the flames were practically powerless to do further evil, for the simple reason that there was nothing left to burn. This will be seen more clearly from the fact that the territory burned was in the shape of triangle, of which two sides were Washington Street. At daylight Haverhill's citizens saw the best business portion of the city an unsightly ruin of smoking brick walls. By and by even the walls, relieved of their slight support, tottered and fell, and the firemen were free to tread their way over piles of brick in the centre of Washington Street. Only two persons, firefighter JOSEPH ST. GERMAINE and a shoemaker, are known to be killed. The missing persons reported are probably frightened out of town for the present. Two or three tenement houses were burned, and about eighteen families are homeless.
Decatur Daily Republican Illinois 1882-02-20