Toledo, OH Million Dollar Grain Elevator Fire, July 1899

$1,000,000 FIRE IN TOLEDO.

THE CINCINNATI, HAMILTON AND DAYTON ELEVATOR BURNED WITH 900,000 BUSHELS OF WHEAT.

Toledo, Ohio, July 23 -- The Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton Elevator, situated in East Toledo, was totally destroyed by fire to-night. The lsos on building and contents is nearly $1,000,000. It is not known how much insurance there is on the 900,000 bushels of wheat burned, but on the building there is $185,000 in various companies. The elevator had been unusually busy for the last two weeks, working night and day to store the 150 cars of wheat received daily. The fact that this was Sunday prevented the fatalities which might otherwise have attended the fire, as the men had quit work early and had been out of the place about two hours.
A small blaze in the cupola was seen first from the outside by passers-by. A fire alarm was turned in, but before the department could reach the place a terrific explosion occurred that shook the foundations of surrounding buildings. The elevator was almost immediately enveloped in flames, and within ten minutes another and heavier explosion occurred, which tore out the entire side of the building next the river. The explosion hurled the watchman, W. E. WELCH, who was in the building, out of the flames and saved his life. He was only slightly injured.
The building was a mass of ruins in a half hour after the first blaze was noticed. The work of the Fire Department was futile, and most of its energy was directed toward saving the adjoining property.
The elevator was largely owned by eastern capital. President WOODFORD of the Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton Road is the President of the elevator company. An elevator owned by this company was burned on the same site four years ago. The building destroyed to-day was one of the most complete in the country. It was supposed to be equipped with every appliance to prevent lose by fire.
The actual loss to the company will be in the neighborhood of $75,000, while the grain will be almost a total loss to the shippers. The quickness of the fire leads to the opinion that some of the grain will be saved in a damaged condition. The Fire Department officials think spontaneous combustion was the cause of the fire.

The New York Times New York 1899-07-24