Louisville, KY Explosion and Fire, Dec 1891

Many Persons Burned to Death.

LOUISVILLE, Ky., Dec. 9. – While the firemen were raking away the ruins of the Boone Paper company at 2:34 o’clock this morning, there came the sound of a terrific explosion in the building on the east of them. That was the Banberger, Strong & Co. building, four stories high. On the instant flames broke from every floor and shot through the roof. Fire must have been smouldering [sic] for several hours in the cellar, and when each of the four stories had become filled with heated air and smoke, an explosion followed and the building was one mass of flames.

Before the fire could be extinguished, the wholesale boot and shoe house of Bamberger, Strong & Co., Messrs. Wilson & Co., furnishing goods and notions, Willer, Woolfolk & Payne, boots and shoes, and Jo Johnanbocke & Sons, had been consumed.

The losses and insurance are as follows: Bamburg, [sic] Strong & Co., loss $124,000; insurance $100,000. Bliss, Wilson & Co., loss $50,000; insurance $40,000. Willer, Woolfolk & Payne, loss $75,000; insurance, unknown. Johnanbocke & Sons, loss $40,000; insurance $35,000.

It was with great difficulty that the firemen prevented the flames from spreading further. A number of people were sleeping in the upper rooms of the buildings but all escaped. One fireman is missing and he may have been crushed by a falling wall.
Late information shows that a number of firemen, all hook and ladder men, were caught until the falling wall of Bamburger, Strong & Co.’s building. Fire chief Hughes and Captain Weatherford were injured, four dead firemen lay under the walls and four others are badly hurt. The dead firemen are: WILLIAM L. MOORE, WILLIAM DAVID, SOL BAKER and TONY SCHLICHT.

At 8 o’clock another fatal fire was raging in F. A. Menne & Co.’s wholesale candy and fancy grocery house, a square above the Boone Paper Co. building. The origin of the fire is a mystery.