Madison, WI Fairchild Building Fire, Mar 1879

A MADISON BLAZE

One of the Finest Blocks in the City Gutted

Soon after one o'clock this afternoon the third and upper story of the great stone building at the southwest corner of Main and Pinckney streets, and owned the Fairchild estate, was discovered to be a fire. This building is occupied on the street floor by M. S. Rowley & Co, hatters and gentlemen's furnishing goods; Bain [?] and Klauber, furnishings goods and merchant tailoring; McConnell & Smith, stationery and musical instruments; and C. A. Damon, merchant tailor. The entire second story was occupied by Thos. Morgan, billiard parlor, saloon and restaurant, while the third story, over Klauber's is occupied by Mr. Klauber as a tailor shop. The rest of the third story was unoccupied.
The fire appear [sic] to have been

FIRST NOTICED
by Fred Eberts, bar-keeper for Morgan who discovered the ceiling over a portion of the eating room to be in a blaze. He rushed down stairs and cried "Fire." Out of the corner room in the third story flames were darting out.

There was a rush of bystanders up the stairs. The fire department was soon after on hand, and by the time the original bystanders had gone over to Clark's drug store and borrowed his Babcock chemical extinguisher, and gone up the stairs with it, together with assistance, there was a stream playing upon the upper floor.

The men who had gone up with the Babcock, went into a coal room, on the second floor near the head of the stairs, and played upon the ceiling above, which was being eating through by the flames. All the sudden there was

A TERRIBLE EXPLOSION
and the men were blown in all directions. The second story was instantly lit up by a blaze. The cause of the explosion was doubtless the formation of a mass of gas from the wet coal, which being being [sic] suddenly ignited, burst. At the present writing, and without further investigation, this would appear to be the most plausible theory.

The men who had been wounded by explosion were taken down and carried to neighboring drug-stores, where bevies of physicians immediately assembled and cared for the unfortunates. Meanwhile, several other explosions took place, and added to the number of injured men.

Following is a
LIST OF THE WOUNDED
as near as can be obtained, the hour of going to press.

August Schoenig, tailor for Klauber, terribly burned about the head and body.
Thomas Morgan, hands and head badly burned.
S. L. Sheldon, slightly burned.
T. G. Grove, one hand and nose burned.
Albert Cheney, of the European Hotel, burned about the hands and head.
James Reynolds, District Attorney, finger badly cut.
A. M. Daggett, one of the worst, injured in every way.
Alfred Goddam, a young man 19 years old, badly burned.
John Parks, watchman, face and hands burned.
Robert Heinrichs, boy of 17, face and hands terribly used up.
Robert Wooton, burned about the nose.
Mr. Spaulding, of the Capital House, face and hands very badly burned.
Henry Wahzinger, one hand and face slightly burned.
Jake Van Etta, proprietor of the Vi-ias [sic] House, injured a little.

THE STOCKS OF GOODS
in the several establishments in the building were very large and expensive and were badly damaged by water, smoke and the hurry of removal. The proprietors, however, carry fair insurances, and their losses, except stoppage of trade, will probably not be very large.

THE FIRE
at this writing - 3:30 p.m. - undoubtedly under control. The building is all ablaze throughout, and will be entirely gutted - leaving nothing but dismal, ruined walls.

The total amount involved is $50,000 insurance, it is in twenty companies. The large Fairchild building is insured for fifteen thousand dollars, and the small extension on Pinckuey St., for $5,000. All of the business firms burned out were well insured, except McConnell & Smith, who have but $3,000 -- whereas, they had just got in an new stock, and their loss will be fully $4,000.

LATEST
At. 4 o'clock, the fire is rapidly being put out. The main stone building is a wreck, and the brick extension considerably damaged by water.

Oshkosh Daily Northwestern, Oshkosh, WI 31 Mar 1879