Dover, NH Destructive Fire, Jan 1932


Dover, N.H., Jan. 4, (AP) -- Plans were under way today to rebuild the Morrell building, destroyed yesterday in the most disastrous fire in the city's history. Loss was estimated at $1,000,000 to $1,250,000.
The building occupied an entire city block between Second and Third streets and Central avenue and housed business establishments and apartments. Hundreds were thrown out of employment when 27 business places were wiped out and about 45 persons were made homeless.
One fireman was severely hurt when he fell from a roof and several others received minor injuries.
Eight cities and towns in New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts responded to a call for aid and their help, coupled with a heavy snow fall that just preceded the fire, prevented the spread of the fire to the remainder of Dover's business center. Aid came from Haverhill, Mass., Exeter, Portsmouth, Rochester, Somersworth and Salmon Falls, N.H., and Berwick and South Berwick, Me.
Two clothing stores, two drug stores, two cigar stores, a dry goods store, a flower shop, two undertaking establishments, a furniture store, two barber shops, two real estate offices and the offices of a doctor and a dentist were destroyed. The building was burned to the ground.
The cause was not determined but firemen believed that it started from spontaneous combustion in a cellar or first floor of stores at the middle of the block.
The fire was discovered at 1:30 a.m. yesterday morning and spread through partitions for an hour before firemen could definitely locate it. As the fire broke into view several parts of the building simultaneously, a northeast wind fanned the blaze beyond control.
The slow start of the fire gave sufficient warning for occupants of the apartment section to get to safety.
In a radius of 100 feet in the Franklin square section all the plate glass windows were broken by the heat.
MRS. ANNIE MORRILL of Dover, owner of the building, today was considering plans for rebuilding.

Lowell Sun Massachusetts 1932-01-04