St Albans, VT Fire, May 1895
ONE HUNDRED HOMELESS FAMILIES
Fire Destroys Many Business Blocks and Residences in St. Albans, Vt.---Loss $750,000.
ST. ALBANS, Vt., May 20.---A woman was engaged in heating her curling iron over a kerosene lamp in the home of a French family near Fonda's lumber yard yesterday, when the lamp exploded and scattered the flames over the carpet, which immediately caught fire. Thus was started the most disastrous fire that ever visited a Vermont town, and which, before it had been extinguished, had burned over fifty acres, sweeping the heart of the business protion, destroying property valued at $750,000, and wiping out fifty business places and seventy-five houses all in three hours' time.
One hundred homeless families are sheltered in the churches and schools of the city. Many merchants lost their entire stocks, and most of the families burned out saved nothing. At the corner of Foundry and Kingman Streets the new United States Post Office and Custom House was situated, and a little further up Kingman, toward Main Street, stood the establishment of The St. Albans Messenger Company, publishers of The Daily and Weekly Messenger block are in ruins. The loss to the Government is $50,000. The Messenger Company property was valued at $45,000, and was insured for $20,000. The fire destroyed every building on Kingman Street, and swept up to Main Street, where it spread in both directions.
There are many losses under $2,000. Hundreds of families lose all they possessed. Citizens are taking measures for their relief.
The new Government building is nearly a total loss. The walls of the first and second stories are standing, but the roof has fallen in and the building is practically ruined. It was rapidly approaching completion, and would have been ready for occupancy by Aug.1. Something over $60,000 had been expended on the structure, which was to be occupied for a Post Office and Custom House.
The ruins cover nearly fifty acres, embracing four entire blocks, bounded by Lake and Hoyt Streets and Main and Foundry Streets. The houses destroyed were mostly new, and many were owned by the occupants.
The New York Times, New York, NY 21 May 1895