Fryeburg, ME Business Section Fire, Aug 1906

Fryeburg MAINE Oxford House Fire started here.jpg Fryeburg MAINE fire 8-31-1906.jpg



Fryeburg, Me., Aug. 31. -- The Oxford house, a four-story wooden structure, containing 70 rooms, the Fryeburg House, which was unoccupied, two millinery and dry good stores and 12 residences were destroyed by today's fire which for five hours raged in the central portion of this town and threatened great damage. The loss was estimated at $90,000, half of which amount was on the Oxford House. Most of the losses were covered by insurance, the hotel property having $18,000.
Control of the flames was gained as far as the village property was concerned at 4 o'clock by means of hard work of 35 firemen who arrived in a special train from Portland at 1:30 o'clock with an engine and wagon of hose.
The flames caught in the timberland, ran into the plains in the direction of Brownfield and burned freely, the villagers being unable to check them because of the great headway gained while they were saving property in the village. A crew of men were set at work tonight to subdue them.
The fire caught on the roof and around the chimney of the Oxford house and was beyond the control from the beginning. The occupants of whom there were about 100, had time to save only a part of their personal effects and the furnishings were lost. The furniture of most of the residences was saved.
An unsuccessful effort to stay the progress of the fire with dynamite was made by men from a quarry, the houses of MRS. SUSAN ABBOTT and HORATIO G. FREEMAN being blown up, but the fire jumped over the debris to the buildings beyond. The residences destroyed were those of MRS. M. B. BARKER, MRS. SUSAN ABBOTT, MRS. EBEN WEEKS, TOBIAS L. EASTMAN, HORATIO G. FREEMAN, SETH W. FIFE, EDWARD P. WESTON, all on the northerly side of Main street, MISS MINNIE A. BRADLEY, WM.
DURGIN, WOODMAN GRAY, A. H. EVANS and NATHANIEL WALKER, on both sides of Portland street.
The stores burned were those of MRS. MARY B. BARKER and MRS. E. G. FIFE, who kept millinery, dry and fancy goods on Main street. The Fryeburg House, an unoccupied two-story wood hotel of 20 rooms, was located on Portland street. All the buildings destroyed were of wood construction. The roof of many other places about town were ignited by flying brands and cinders but were saved.
Fortunately there was only one accident. ALONZO LEWIS, a lawyer, while hoisting pails of water to wet down the roof of his residence, fell to the ground and was badly injured. It was feared that one of his hips was broken and arrangement was made to take him to a Portland hospital.
A strong wind from the northwest fanned the flames and was responsible for the severe loss. Telephone communication was frequently interrupted by the melting of wires and the approach of the flames to the building containing the central office which caught fire a number of times.
The fire in the woods was under control at 9:30 o'clock tonight, and it was found that the damage there would not be extensive. Although about two miles of territory was covered by the rush of flames and several highways were crossed, no valuable timber was burned. Practically all the land burned over was covered with only underbrush and short growth, and is known as "cut-over land."

Daily Kennebec Journal Maine 1906-09-01