Butte, MT Saloon and House Fire, Mar 1897


Narrow Escape of Seven People From Death by Fire.

The house and saloon of Martin Turck was literally wiped off the earth by fire early Wednesday morning. Nothing remains but a cellar filled with twisted iron and charred debris to show where the building formerly stood. It was only by the sagacity of a big black Newfoundland dog that seven people were saved from cremation.

Martin Turck is an Austrian who ran a saloon at No. 1 Lincoln avenue, which is a short and muddy thoroughfare running parallel with the Montana Union tracks, in Meaderville. The building, owned by Mr. Turck, consisted of five rooms, a bar room in front, a dance hall opening out of it, and three living rooms in the rear. The family consisted of the saloon keeper and his wife, their four children and a girl about fifteen years old, who assists Mrs. Turck in the housework.

On Tuesday evening the family retired as usual, Mr. Turck locking up his saloon after midnight. Between the mattrasses [sic] of the bed heth [sic] rust his pocked book, containing a check for $2,000 and about $400 in currency.

A little before 4 o'clock in the morning Turck was awakened by something tugging at the covers and the loud barking of his big dog. He sat up in bed and rubbed his eyes. The dog had his forefeet on the bed, from which he had pulled a blanket in his endeavor to arouse his master. Mr. Turck heard a noise in front, either from the saloon or the dance hall, and his first thoughts were of theives. He secured his revolver, and while his wife, who had also been awakened by the dog, was fumbling about in an effort to light a lamp, he opened the door to the ball room.

One side of the dance hall was in flames and the fire was making rapid headway.

"Fire!" shouted Turck, dropping his pistol. "The house is on fire - save the children."