Aberdeen, WA Business Section Fire, Oct 1903
A MILLION DOLLAR FIRE -- BUSINESS PORTION OF ABERDEEN WASH., WIPED OUT.
FOUR PERSONS DEAD, SIX INJURED.
LUMBERING TOWN IN FAR WEST LOSES STORES, BANKS, OPERA HOUSE, CITY BUILDINGS, HOTELS AND HOSPITAL -- DYNAMITE USED TO STAY FLAMES.
Aberdeen, Wash., Oct. 17. -- Fire in this town has caused four deaths and destroyed property valued at spproximately $1,000,000. It practically wiped out the main business street of the town, which is built mostly of wood. Six other persons were more or less injured.
Not more than one half of the loss is covered by insurance, the insurance companies having refused to carry any greater risk on account of the inflammable material of which all the buildings in Aberdeen are constructed. Every business man in the city is a loser either by fire, water, removal, breakage or loss by theft.
Not anticipating that the flames would get beyond the fire department's control, many waited until the fire was close upon them before starting to move out. The streets were soon strewn and littered with all kinds of material, and the rush and haste of teams and people in every direction caused great confusion. The fire started in an old building on Hume street which had been regarded as a firetrap. It was three stories high and was occupied by numerous single men, who cooked their own meals, chiefly in oil stoves. It was in a room in the third story where the flames started, and the interior of the building was a mass of flames when an alarm was sent in.
Flames Spread Rapidly.
From this block the fire spread to the fine new hose house and headquarters of the fire department. Great volumes of flames shot into the air, and the heat became unbearable a block distant. In a short time the flames had jumped across the alley to WALKER'S saloon, and every building in the block bounded by Heron and F and H streets, including KAUFMAN'S brick building, went up.
Word went along every business street to prepare for the worst, and as far up as the Commercial block there were hurried preparations to get out of danger. On the north side of Heron street the fire jumped from the Anderson Block to the State bank, and every store from that corner to Hays' bank and all the buildings in the black bounded by Heron, G, Wishkah and H streets were burned, including the Central school building, three stores and the city council chambers.
GEORGE WILKES' dry goods store, in the Weatherway building, went next, and then came the destruction of the finely equipped Crescent hotel. The flames then jumped across H street to Patterson street and to the Pacific hotel, and this newly constructed hotel was also destroyed. The opera house and all the material and buildings of the New Hospital association next burned.
In order to stop the further progress of the flames dynamite was used on several of the buildings upon which the flames were advancing. Telephone messages brought the fire departments of Hoguiam and Montesano to the scene, and they did effective work. All sorts of reports concerning the death or injury of well known business men were current. Only four deaths, however, are known to have resulted from the fire. The fire raged for over five hours before it was brought under control. Aberdeen has a population of about 7,000, and the chief industry is lumbering.
The Daily Times New Brunswick New Jersey 1903-10-17