Burlington, VT Lumber Fire, Dec 1898

BIG FIRE IN VERMONT.

Eleven Million Feet of Lumber Burned at Burlington---Three Men Arrested.

BURLINGTON. Vt., Dec. 24.---Twelve acres containing 11,000,000 feet of lumber, a planing mill, eight sheds, and a large quantity of machinery, the property of the Shepard & Morse Lumber Company of Boston and this city, were swept by fire this forenoon, causing a loss estimated at $250,000. The fire is one of the most severe blows that has been sustained by the industries of Burlington in many years, and it is feared that the plant will not the re-established.

The entire plant of the company was practically wiped out of existence, and it was with great difficulty that adjoining property was saved. The origin of the fire is not known but it was first seen near the mill. It spread rapidly, and in a short space of time half a dozen big lumber piles were burning fiercely. Sparks set fire to other parts of the plant, and the fire fighters were unable to save any of the company's property.

The head office of the Shepard & Morse Company, in Boston, on being notified of the fire, dispatched H. B. Shepard, Tresurer[sic] of the company, to this city. He arrived this afternoon. The company, besides its plant here, has branches at Ottawa, Ontario, and New York City. The amount of insurance on the property is $104,000. About 100 men are thrown out of employment by the fire.

As soon as possible after the fire had been got under control an investigation was made as to the probable cause, and as a result the police arrested this afternoon Clement Hurley, Joseph Stannard, and John Lashway on suspicion. It appears that near where the fire originated a large number of persons were condoling with the relatives of Julia Dion, who had recently died, and the three men who were arrested were among the party. The fire extended to the house where the gathering was being held. The occupants narrowly escaped with their lives, and only succeeded in saving the remains of Miss Dion by rapid work.

The New York Times, New York, NY 25 Dec 1898