Taylorville, IL Fire, Dec 1896


Taylorville Visited by the Fire Fiend.


And Destruction of the Town Feared.

Special to BULLETIN.

TAYLORVILLE, Ill., Dec., 21, '96.- This afternoon at 3:30 o'clock occurred one of the most disastrous fires white has visited Taylorville for some time. The large ware room of Columbus White and about one half the lumber in the yards at the northeast corner of East Main and North Walnut streets were entirely consumed.

The fire was discovered at about the same time by Mr. White and Alex Entsminger, city police. Mr. White and his wife were sitting in the front office when Mr. White said "I believe I smell smoke." He got up and went to the inner door between the office and ware rooms, where an immense stock of implements were stored and discovered the fire near the centre of the building on the west side which was then a mass of flames. He instantly gave alarm and Tip Larkins, a salesman for Mr. White, jumped in the buggy of Mr. Warwick and drove to the hose house where the alarm was given. Alex Entsminger and Mr. Warwick had been hunting and had just driven up, attracted by the smoke which was pouring from the ventilator at the top of the ware rooms.

Burned Like Tender
The immense structure burned like tinder for the building was of wood and the floors were soaked with oil from having been used many years for handling and storing agricultural implements. The fire companies were quickly on the scene and in a very short time had four streams of water pouring on the flames, but to no purpose toward saving the building. The barn in the rear of the lot just east of the warehouse with the loft full of hay was burned. The heat was intense and soon the blacksmith shop of Wm. Logan, across the alley north caught and was entirely consumed. The lumber in the year east of the main building ignited and several carloads of cedar shingles caught. An entire block of lumber 150 feet long, all lath and shingles were destroyed. The block of lumber 150 feet in length is damaged over 50 percent. The sheds on the east of the yard caught several times, but by super-human efforts of the fire ladies was extinguished. The barn of R. I. Smith caught next and was destroyed.

Town in Danger.
The store room of the Taylorville Monumental works across the street west was on fire, but the loss in nominal on that building. The fire was gotten under control and did not extend further west. Had the fire got started on the west side of the street the loss would have been terrific, as five frame buildings were right together and it would have gone into the business part of the city.

The roof of Wm. Overand's house was on fire several times, but aside from a few panes of glass cracked did no damage. This house stands across the street west and on the north side of the alley from the White building.

The Loss.
The building in which the fire originated faced south, was 150 feet long, two stories high, and 50 feet wide and was filled with buggies, carriages, farm wagons, self binders, hay bailers, drills, plows, cultivators and many other articles carried by a first class implement dealer. Mr. White's estimated loss is $14,000 on which he carried $7,000 insurance. Wilbur Wetzel, a trusted employee, had been in the ware rooms invoicing the stock about an hour before the fire broke out, but no sign of the fire was seen then.

Another Fire.
A small blaze last night at 1:30 called the fire department to a wood shed and coal house of Wm. Sanders, probably set by some fellow who was trying to get fuel for morning, as Mr. Sanders and family were away from home. Loss about $20.

The Bulletin-Sentinel, Decatur, IL 26 Dec 1896