Oakes, ND Main Street Fire, Oct 1907

Oakes Fights Fire Peril And Saves Town From Destruction

Half Blocks On Both Sides Of Main Street Are Now Pile Of Ashes

Loss Will Not Be Short of $120,000 With Insurance About One-Third---Fire Department Works Against Heavy Handicaps But Citizens Lend Their Assistance and Finally Win Battle Against Flames---List Of Individual Losses---Origin of Fire Not Known

Oakes, N.D., Oct. 17-Fire in this town at an early hour this morning threatened for a time to wipe out the entire business district. As it is, half a block on each side of Main Street is in ashes and the property damage will be little short of $120,000.

Flames Spread Rapidly

The origin of the fire is not yet known. It started about 1:30 o’clock this morning in the building occupied by the Jessen general merchandise store. It is reported the blaze was not discovered at once and that when the fire department responded to the alarm the flames had gained considerable headway. At one time it seemed that the fire was about under control, but just then the wind veered and growing stronger, fanned the blaze into a roaring flame which spread rapidly to the adjoining buildings.

Heavy Handicaps

To add to the danger, the water pressure is said to have given out and some valuable time was lost before the supply was resumed. The fire swept half a block, then crossed the street and burned another half block. The high wind was a handicap too great to be overcome, but the firemen aided by scores of citizens fought desperately against the heavy odds and finally won the battle. The ruins are still smoldering, but there appears to be no danger of the fire breaking out again.

Insurance One-Third

An estimate of the loss places the total at $112,000, but there are some losses still to be heard from. The insurance reports figure up a total of about one-third of the loss, or about $45,000.

So far as is known nobody was injured, some persons received minor hurts, but nothing of a serious nature. Everybody who helped fight the fire did splendid work, and a great deal of property was saved that would otherwise have been destroyed. In fact, had it been for the help of the citizens, the fire would have swept a much larger area. It seemed that everybody appreciated the danger to the whole town and went to work to save as much of it as possible and in this they succeeded against great odds.

Losses and Insurance

A list of the losses and insurance, which is as complete as it is possible to make at this time, is as follows:

E.J. Walton, $6000, insurance, $2,500; J.W. bush, hardware, in Walton building, $8,000, insurance, $3,800; A.G. Rhinehauser, $5,000, insurance, $1,500; Jessen General merchandise, $6,000, insurance, $2,500; Gus Strutz building, $3,500, no insurance; W.T. Brown café, $4,000; insurance, $1,500; E.A. Moe, jeweler, building and stock, $6,000, insurance, $2,500; W.H. Bush, post office, fixtures and stock, $1,000, insurance, $200; John Kennedy, barber shop, building and fixtures, $10,000; insurance on building, only $4,500; C.L. Marshal, pool room and cigar store, $3,800, insurance, $2,400; William Lockle, building, $2,000, insurance not known; Palace Clothing house, estimated loss $20,000, insurance, $5,500; H.J. Johnson, office fixtures, $2,000, no insurance; Argyle Hotel, building and furniture, $12,000, insurance $3,500; Christopherson’s barber shop and fixtures. $800, insurance $350; A.J. Young, drugstore, building, $2,000, insurance, $1,500 and stock $7,000, insurance, $2,500; Bishop’s meat market, $3,500, insurance, $1,500; Seaton & Brown, hardware and machinery, building, $3,000, insurance, $1,700, and stock, $6,000, insurance, $2,700; Fred Coight, tailor, $500, no insurance.

Aberdeen Daily News, Aberdeen, SD 17 Oct 1907