Council Bluffs, IA Business Fire, Nov 1853


From the Bugle, Extra, Nov. 14.
On Friday night, at about 10 o'clock, the store of MESSRS, TOOTLE & JACKSON was discovered to be on fire, and upon bursting in the door a dense volume of smoke, followed immediately by a sheet of fire, burst out. An alarm was instantly given, and in a few minutes the streets were alive with people, as many had not retired to bed. In 15 minutes the store was enveloped in flames, and little hopes of saving the buildings on that side of the street was entertained, and many commenced emptying the densely filled stores into the street, while others commenced to tear down and pull out the "Gem Buildings," but were soon driven away by the flames.
The fire was so confined to the whole inside of the building, that when it burst forth, the flames spread each way with appalling rapidity, insomuch that it was evident to all that our limited means for the use of water would be unavailing, and every endeavor was made to save the goods along the whole line of blocks on Main street. We were on the ground in a moment after the alarm of fire was given and immediately commenced removing our effects. The Emporium Exchange and store, Post Office and printing office, was our all, and we, together with our boys and everybody else, taxed ourselves to the utmost. The Post Office was saved almost entire, the Bugle press and job type of both Bugle and Guardian offices, the paper and cards and printer's stock generally, together with over half the type, was totally lost.
The principal losers by the fire are, first, on the corner of Broadway and Madison street:
MASON & CO., $5,000.
TOOTLE & JACKSON, $25,000.
B. R. PEGRAM $ CO., $10,000.
J. C. MITCHELL, $3,000.
J. E. JOHNSON, $20,000.
McLAUGHLIN & CO., $2,000.
ROBERT HAWK, $3,000.
J. K. COOK, (Bluff House,) $3,000.
P. MURPHY, $5,000.
Many others have been losers to a greater or less amount, the particulars of which are not now in our possession. Without exception, as far as our knowledge of the transactions in the time of the fire, everybody worked to their utmost, and many were sick next day from exhaustion and over exertion. We regret to say that some few unprincipled persons took advantage of the intense excitement and confusion, and carried away some of the rescued goods, some of which have been recovered.
As near as we can learn there were insurances upon the destroyed property to the amount of between twenty and thirty thousand dollars. Not half the amount of goods and merchandise on the burnt district was saved. The buildings were all of wood, and they burnt with great rapidity. This is a sad and severe loss to our young city and fast settling country. Many of the buildings will be replaced immediately.

The New York Times New York 1853-12-02