Boston, MA Million Dollar Fire, Jul 1904


BOSTON, July 6.---The immense grain elevator of the Boston and Maine Railroad Company, one of the largest in the world, together with the company's freight houses, Nos. 1, 2 and 3, and Piers 1 and 2, Mystic Wharf, Charlestown, were burned last night, entailing a loss that will exceed $1,000,000.

In the course of the fire two lives are known to have been lost. Eleven sailors of the Allan Line steamer Austrian, which was lying at Pier 1, jumped overboard to save themselves from the flames, which had communicated to the vessel, and Frederick McKenzie and James Galligher were drowned. The other men were picked up by tugboats and removed to the Marine hospital at Chelsa. One of the wharf employes[sic] was reported missing.

Before the fire on board the Austrian could be got under control by the fleet of tugboats that had hauled her out into the stream all her upper works had been burned to her decks. The steamer arrived yesterday, and had discharged a part of her cargo. The portion, which included $30,000 worth of Scotch whiskey was burned in the freight house.

The fire started after 5 o'clock in a heavy thunderstorm, when a bolt of lightning struck the northeast end of the freight house No. 2, in which was stored a quantity of hay. In an instant the flames shot in either direction, quickly communicating to houses Nos. 1 and 3 and from the latter to the big elevator building further west.

The larger part of the fire apparatus of the city was summoned and efforts were directed to saving adjoining property. The elevator and freight sheds were close to the bridge connecting Chelsa and this city, and so intense was the heat that for several hundred feet along the side near the burning buildings the bridge was badly burned and it piers charred. Fortunately, it was a dead calm, and the great showers of sparks and smoke arose almost perpendicularly, thus failing to reach the other freight houses of the company on the adjacent piers.

Wilkes-Barre Times, Wilkes-Barre, PA 6 Jul 1904