Hartford, CT Steamboat Co Freight House Fire, Sept 1867


Destruction of the Hartford and New-York Steamboat Company's Freight House---
Heavy Loss of Freight.

From the Hartford (Conn.) Evening Press, Sept.13.

About 12:30 o'clock to-day a fire broke out in the lower portion of the large freight house of the Hartford and New-York Steamboat Company at the foot of State-street. In spite of the efforts of the firemen the building was entirely destroyed, and a large quantity of freight stored therein, ready for shipment on the afternoon boat, was burned. The fire is believed to have taken from a spark from a cigar dropping upon a bag of cotton or jute in the lower part of the old freight building. Some express the opinion that it was caused by spontaneous combustion of cotton. The steamer City of Hartford was lying at the wharf, without steam up, and so rapid was the progress of the flames that she was charred considerably on the wood-work of the wheel-house, before she could be hauled off. She was saved by the little steamer, Silver Star, which fortunately had sufficient steam to tow her out of the reach of the flames. The building was a large wooden structure, set high on stone pillars, the main portion above the reach of floods, having a large front on the river, and a long covered bridge and freight room running back to Commerce-street.

The heaviest loss is on the freight; some of this was saved, but little of the heavy freight in the main building could be got out. The freight in the open part of the lower portion of the dock was one of great excitement during the efforts of hundreds of people, with the aid of many carmen, to remove the boxes and bales to a place of safety. The American Mills at Rockville has about one hundred and seventy-five bales of wool in the building, which had recently arrived. The greater portion of this was saved. A large and valuable safe, just sent here by Herring & Co., for the American Watch Company, weighing 3,500 pounds, was tumbled out by some strong men.

In the contusion which prevails, as we go to press, it is impossible to get at the amount of loss on freight, or the parties who are sufferers, or the amount of insurance. The building, though large, was not an expensive one, and probably $15,000 will cover the loss on it, as the stone piers supporting it are uninjured. In all probability much of the freight is insured in transit. Freight received often lies for a considerable time, waiting for the consignees to call for it. The Steamboat Company charges nothing for this temporary storage, and the loss of the goods falls upon the owners. A very large portion of the property destroyed was of this class. Much of it was paper stock---rags, paper clippings, jute, &c. There was also some wool and a variety of merchandise. Goods going down the river seldom remain to any great amount in store over night. Considerable had been loaded on the City of Hartford, and much of the rest, lying on the ground beneath the building was hurriedly removed. Exclusive of the the buildings, the aggregate loss is probably not far from $100,000. How much of it the Steamboat Company will share, in addition to the buildings burned, it will take time to ascertain. Though that corporation has suffered a number of losses in various ways, it is strong and prosperous.

The New York Times, New York, NY 22 Sept 1867