Connellsville, PA Peach Street Fire, May 1904


Connellsville Theater Narrowly Escaped Destruction Friday Evening.


With a Total Loss of Five Thousand Dollars, Partially Covered by Insurance--Firemen Did Excellent Work and Controlled Flames.

Fire, supposed to be of incendiary origin, destroyed the food store and ware rooms of Dull & Co., at Peach street and the Pennsylvania railroad between 8 and 10 o'clock last night. For an hour the Connellsville Theatre and in fact the centre square was threatened by the flames. Hard, untiring work on the part of the firemen confined the fire to the food store and saved the surrounding property. The loss is estimated at $5,000, including the building, hay and grain, vehicles, implements, etc., and is covered by insurance. A crowd of over 2,000 people witnessed the fire.

Boys from Evans' Livery stable discovered the flames in the rear of the building. A mistake was made in the plug number No. 23 being sounded instead of No. 25. This confused the firemen for a short time, but they were soon straightened out and made a good run to the scene. Three alarms were sounded, and the New Haven department responded promptly. Four streams of water were soon playing on the burning building and after a half hour's hard work the flames began to subside.

The building, located directly in the rear of the Connellsville Theatre and connected with a series of wooden buildings fronting on Pittsburg street, was particularly hard to handle. It was originally a skating rink, but of a number of years has been used as a feed and storage house. The books of the firm, which were in the unlocked safe, were rescued before the fire reached them. Citizens started to run out a number of buggies and other vehicles, but were driven out by the rapid spread of the fire.

A horse belonging to Fred Robbins, manager of the theatre, was rescued with considerable difficulty, and was almost overcome when brought out of the dense smoke. Italians living next door to the theatre moved out all their household goods, as it seemed certain that the fire would spread to their dwelling.

Mr. Dull stated last night that a car load of hay and another of bran had been received yesterday and stored. A car of corn was on the siding, but only two loads had been taken out of it. He said that $5,000 would fully cover the loss.

The insurance on the damaged building and stock was in companies for which Henry Goldsmith and Pendleton & Reid are agents. The insurance aggregates $4,000, half the amount with each agency.

A feature of the fire was "Bubby" Cox's searchlight. Cox, who is a young electrician, made the searchlight himself. It is a cable affair, btu[sic] it answers the purpose admirably and materially aided the firemen in their work after the flames were out.

The Daily Courier, Connellsville, PA 21 May 1904



Two Hebrews Knocked Down a Nozzleman at the Fire Last Night.

Sam Rich and Louis Setosky, two Hebrew junk dealers, are in the toils of the law on a charge of interfering with the work of the firemen during the blaze on Peach street last night. The flames were spreading towards Pittsburg street and the firemen started in through Rich & Setosky's store with a line of hose. Rich and Setosky knocked over the lights when the firemen came in and one of them, it is alleged, struck Captain Jim Stillwagon over the heal with some blunt instrument, knocking him down.

Stillwagon was carrying the nozzle and was stunned by the blow. Constable Mitchell arrested the two men, who gave forfeits for a hearing before Burgess Patterson this evening.

The Daily Courier, Connellsville, PA 21 May 1904