Sprague, WA Fire, Aug 1895

Big Fire At Sprague.

Northern Pacific Depot Destroyed-Wires Go Down-Particulars Unknown.

A dispatch to General Superintendent Dickinson, of the Northern Pacific, was received in this city today, to the effect that a terrific fire is raging at Sprague. Owing to the fact that the wires all are burned down no particulars could be obtained, but enough is known to warrant the statement that this city is threatened with destruction. It was stated in the dispatch referred to that the Northern Pacific freight depot and the headquarters of the company were in danger. Later the following dispatch was received at the News office:

Portland, Ore., Aug. 3-News has reached this city that a fire is raging at Sprague, Wash., and that owing to the fact the wires are down it is impossible to get particulars,. It is known that the depot through which the telegraph wires pass is burned.

Tacoma Daily News, Tacoma, WA 3 Aug 1895


Big Fire In Sprague, Wash.

A Million Dollars Lost-Many Families Homeless-Car Shops of the Northern Pacific Railroad Burned.

Spokane, Washington, Aug. 4.-Sprague, the county seat of Lincoln County, and the division point of the Northern Pacific Railroad, having a population of 3,000, was almost destroyed by fire yesterday. A high wind, amounting almost to a hurricane, was blowing at the time. Over $1,000,000 worth of property was burned in two hours’ time.

The fire started in a livery stable on the south side of the railroad track. On the north side the station was the first to go, and from there the flames spread to the railroad headquarters building, icehouse, hotels, and railroad restaurants, taking everything in the shape of a building.

On the south side of the tracks, the first two blocks of frame buildings went like a flash, and the immense car shops and roundhouse next. Seven of the engines were gotten out in time to save them before the roundhouse fell in, burying three others.

The huge oil tanks in the rear of the shops exploded, scattering the burning oil around and spreading the fire to the business portion of the town.

Every business house, with the exception of three small stores and the First National Bank, was burned.

Very little if any merchandise was saved. Last night many of the citizens were homeless.

A special train left here last night, carrying food and tents to the sufferers. The fire may be a deathblow to Sprague, as it is probable the Northern Pacific will now move its shops here.

The New York Times, New York, NY 5 Aug 1895


A $1,000,000 Fire.

The Town of Sprague, Wash., Visited With an Awful Calamity.

Spokane, Wash., Aug. 4.-Yesterday’s fire at Sprague, which caused a loss of about $1,000,000, started in Milton’s livery stable, on the corner of First and C streets, on the south side of the Northern Pacific tracks. The wind was blowing a hurricane at the time. From the stable the flames jumped across the tracks to the station and grain elevator and from there the fire was communicated to the railroad company’s ice and storage houses and soon the handsome headquarters building was in flames. The fire continued to lick up the buildings on the north side, including the Pacific Hotel, until only a few scattering dwellings were left standing.

All the time the devastation was going on on the south side of the tracks another arm of the fire was fast making for the main business portion of the town. Starting from where the fire broke out, the flames in a twinkling licked up two blocks of frame buildings facing the track, and then a dreaded event took place-the immense carshops caught fire. The fire at that point was terrific.

The flames soon communicated to the immense oil tanks in the rear of the shops, and with a loud explosion they burst, scattering the burning oil in every direction. It was fortunate that the intense heat had driven everybody back out of danger from the explosion.

The oil spread the fire in all directions and then it was that all hope of saving the city was given up.

Charlotte Observer, Charlotte, NC 6 Aug 1895

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