Casper, WY House Fire, Aug 1893

The first fire of any consequence to occur in Casper was on the morning of August 24, 1893, at 1:45, when the house in which Dr. L. G.Powell was living was totally destroyed. Marshal John Merritt discovered the flames and aroused the people in the town by firing six shots from his revolver. The flames had gotten under such headway that nothing could be saved except a few pieces of furniture. The house was valued at about two hundred dollars, and the furniture at two thousand dollars. There was no insurance on the house, but there was nine hundred dollars insurance on the furniture. "It fortunately happened," says a newspaper item, "that Mrs. Powell had arranged to leave for Chicago the same morning, and her trunk, containing considerable wearing apparel, was at the railroad station. She also left some pictures and other things of value with some of the neighbors a few days before the fire occurred."

About four weeks later Dr. Powell was arrested upon the charge of arson. The trial was had before Justice A. J. Irwin on October 5. G. B. McCalmont, county attorney, prosecuted the case, and Alex T. Butler appeared for the defense. The trial consumed half the day, at the end of which the prosecuting attorney announced that on account of some of the main witnesses refusing to answer certain questions, because they might incriminate themselves, the prosecution had no case, and in justice to the taxpayers it was useless to hold the defendant to the district court for trial. The case was thereupon dismissed, and in the evening a dance was given in compliment to Dr. Powell and his attorney.

History of Natrona County, Wyoming, 1888-1922 by Alfred James Mokler, 1923