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Berlin, NH Fire, Feb 1908

FIRE LOSS OF $400,000

Blaze at Berlin, N. H., Wipes Out Eight Business Buildings

Berlin, N. H., Feb. 5.--With the thermometer at 20 degrees below zero, eight buildings in the heart of the business district of this city were destroyed last night, causing a loss roughly estimated at about $400,000. The fire was not declared under control until it had practically burned itself out after burning for five hours.

The blaze started in the four-story brick Green block, the largest structure of its kind in the city. The Berlin fire department was utterly unable to cope with the conflagration. The one steamer of the department broke down at the very outset of the fire, and until help came from Portland and Lewiston Me., the only streams played upon the fast increasing conflagration were two feeble hydrant streams that dribbled on the fire at a distance of fifty feet with force not sufficient to break a pane of glass. Some sick tenants in the Green block had narrow escapes from their homes.

The telephone exchange was burned out during the progress of the fire, the operators sticking to their posts until after the flames had attacked their structure. The blaze started in some excelsior in the basement of the E. A. Burbank company, furniture dealers. The fire was bounded on the north by the Gerrish block and on the south by the Sutton block.

The Fitchburg Sentinel, Fitchburg, MA 5 Feb 1908

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YANKEE TOWN IS NEARLY DESTROYED

BERLIN, N. H., Feb. 5.--Aid from Portland and Lewiston, Me., saved Berlin from destruction by fire today, for although the conflagration that raged all night is still burning fiercely, the firemen are confident that they can confine it to the district that now lies in ruins. At 8 a. m., the damage was estimated at $450,000, and if the further spread of the flames can be prevented half a million probably will cover the total loss.

Until daylight it looked as if nothing could save the town from being absolutely wiped out. Fanned by a gale the flames swept through the heart of the business section, and the local fire department was unable to offer anything like effective resistance. The fire fighters were handicapped by a temperature of 23 degrees below zero, which crippled the water supply and froze the water from two feeble streams almost as soon as it left the nozzles.

The fire started in a pile of excelsior in the basement of Edward Burbank’s furniture store and spread so quickly that forty tenants in the upper floors had barely time to escape. From here the flames leaped to the post office and Berlin National Bank Buildings.

Trenton Evening Times, Trenton, NJ 5 Feb 1908



article | by Dr. Radut