Columbus, OH Hotel Fire, Feb 1899


Half a Block of Business Houses Destroyed and Many Persons Injured

Loss Estimated at $750,000.

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Feb. 2.---The most serious conflagration which has visited Columbus since the million-dollar Chittenden Hotel fire in 1893, visited Columbus last night. Half a block of fine buildings in the heart of the business portion of the town have been destroyed, and the Fire Department has not yet got the flames entirely under control.

The fire is thought to have started in the basement of the Dunlap Building, occupied by the Chicago Bankrupt Clothing Company. It swept up the elevator shaft, and soon the whole building was ablaze. Several alarms were sent in, and the whole department, although doing their best work, seemed to have little effect in staying the progress of the flames.

The audience in the High Street Theatre, which was across an alley from the burning block was dismissed in a hurry, and this crowd was soon swelled to enormous proportions by a mob of excited people from all parts of the city.

The fire soon communicated to the Jones Block, on the left, and the Soulder and Bright Buildings, on the right, and these, with the wholesale millinery store of Soulder & Bright and the store of D. S. Ambach, clothing, were as complete wrecks as the Dunlap Building.

A fire wall, four feet thick, separated the fine block of Green, Joyce & Co., wholesale dry goods and notions, from the others, but this was no barrier, and at 1 o'clock this morning the fire had eaten its way through and was burning fiercely in the upper stories.

At 11:50 last night, with scarcely any warning, the front and rear walls of the Dunlap Building, as though rent asunder by an explosion, fell, one on High Street and the other completely filling the alley in the rear with bricks and debris. Fortunately the police had kept the street fairly clear, or the loss of life would have been enormous.

As it was, a number of firemen were caught while flying from the crumbling walls. Whitey Davis is missing, and while his comrades and the police are making every effort to discover his remains, they have not yet been found.

The entire loss is estimated at $750,000.

The New York Times, New York, NY 2 Feb 1899