Dallas, TX Liquor Wholesale House Burns, July 1891

WHISKY CAUSES A BIG FIRE.

DALLAS LOSES PROPERTY WORTH $290,000 -- INSURANCE, $200,000.

Dallas, Texas, July 25. -- At 12:40 this morning a fire broke out in J. B. COWAN'S wholesale liquor house on Commerce Street, opposite the Grand Windsor Hotel, wherein were stored, it is estimated, about 700 barrels of whisky. A few minutes later flames burst through the roof, and at the same time they seemed to fill the inside of the building. From the liquor house the flames spread into the large two-story brick building adjoining it on the west, and occupied for the storage of the model carver cotton bins, by B. F. WOLFE & Co., and to the two-story brick building on the east, the ground floor of which was occupied by the Texas Storage Company, and contained a large quantity of desks and furniture, while the upper story was partly occupied by the Benbroeck School Supply Company, dealers in desks, school apparatus, &c. From this building the flames jumped across the vacant lot separating it from the Opera House, the roof of which caught fire, observing which the fire companies directed two streams of water there and saved the building.
The east rear wall of the lost building collapsed and a great tongue of flame shot over to the Opera House, and in a few moments the centre of the wall of that building was ablaze. For a short while it appeared again that the Opera House was doomed, but the firemen, in the face of blinding smoke, steadily advanced until a suitable position was gained and a well directed stream put out the Opera House blaze. Barrels of liquor continued to explode with a loud crash as the liquor house crumbled away. At one time serious fears were entertained for the safety of the Windsor Hotel. Constantly fed by the flowing liquor, the flames increased in volume to such an extent that they almost overleaped the intervening space, but not far enough to lick the eaves of the hotel. The windows on the Commerce Street side of the hotel, which had previously been peopled with excited faces, were quickly closed and the fire escapes were put in readiness in case of emergency. Fortunately their use was not required, as by this time the firemen had succeeded in beating back the advancing flames, and the threatened danger to the Windsor was happily averted.
The losses and insurances are:
J. B. COWAN & Co., loss $75,000, insurance $58,000 on stock, $10,000 on building.
SANGER Brothers, loss on stock $65,000, insurance $40,000.
W. T. ERVAY, loss on building $18,000, insurance $10,000.
W. L. BETTERTON, loss $10,000, insurance, $7,800.
Texas Storage Company, estimated loss $29,000, insurance $20,000.
The Benbroeck School Supply Company carried a large stock and is insured for $9,000.
B. WOLFE & Co. carried $10,000 insurance on their stock.
The total loss will foot up $290,000; insurance $200,000.

The New York Times New York 1891-07-26