Olean, NY Barn Fire, May 1895


Old Barse Barn on Barry Street Destroyed by Fire.

At 10:30 o'clock last night a fire, wel [sic] under way, was discovered in the old Barse barn at 83 Barry street which is [ineligible] by Senator F. W. Higgins and used for stabling purposes. An alarm was sent in from box 8 but before the fire was gotten under control, the barn with nearly all the contents, including three valuable horses, was destroyed and the large frame dwelling house on the south which belongs to the Martin estate was badly damaged. The fire caused a total loss of about $3,000 nearly covered by insurance.

The fire must have smouldered [sic] a long time for when it was discovered it seemed to be burning in all parts at once. The fire company directed their efforts to saving the Martin house for it was apparent that the barn was doomed. In the portion of the barn where the fire seemed the hottest, were three horses in box stalls and it was impossible to save them. Fred Smith, an employe [sic] of F. W. Higgins & Co., succeeded in getting one delivery horse out but it was dangerous and difficult work. The hair on the animal was singed when being led through the fire. Another man, early on the scene, succeeded in getting another horse out and some of the conveyances, which were standing just inside the door were also gotten out. The remainder of the contents, besides the three horses mentioned, consisted of harnesses, wagons, horse feed and the like.

Two of the animals that perished were pets of the Higgins family and the other was a delivery horse. All three were quite valuable, outside the particular value placed on two of them as pets. The poor horses probably were smothered before the flames caused them to suffer much as they made little noise.

The fire department, particularly the Citizen Hose company, were quickly on the scene, and did much effective work. They saved the Martin house which for a time seemed doomed, and they are deserving of much credit.

The burned barn belonged to the Barse estate and was valued at about $1,000, fully covered by insurance in the Mandeville agency. The loss to Mr. Higgins will aggregate about $1,500, with $1,000 insurance. The damage to the Morton [sic] house, about $250, was fully covered by insurance in the Abrams & Son's agency. There was a considerable removal damaged to the furniture in the Martin house which was covered by insurance.

There is no knowledge concerning the origin of the fire. It started very mysteriously. It may have been caused by someone smoking in the barn, but this is only a matter a conjecture.

The Olean Democrat, Olean, NY 24 May 1895