$325,000 Fire in Fort Wayne, Ind.
With one fatality and several cases of severe injury, the building occupied by Weil Brothers, dealers in wool, hides and furs, Fort Wayne, was destroyed by a recent fire. It started at 2.30 p. m., at which time men at work on the second floor heard an explosion and saw huge bales of wool that were piled up almost to the ceiling, while in a few seconds puffs of smoke began to come from the wool. An alarm was turned in immediately, but almost before it could be pulled, flames began to dart from the pile of wool and spread with such rapidity that when the first apparatus reached the place, the entire three floors were involved. The department was badly hampered by finding the two nearest plugs frozen, and loss of twenty-five minutes was caused, while another hydrant was blocked by a large touring car whose owner it took ten minutes to locate. He was promptly arrested. Shortly after the arrival of the department under Chief Hilbrecht, a general alarm was turned in and all the available apparatus in the city was rushed to the aid of the first companies to arrive. The day shift continued to work for hours after the night men appeared, and by their united efforts, the fire was put under control in about five hours. Henry Ranney, 72 years old, an employee of the firm, was on the third floor of the building with another man when the fire broke out and started toward the front, but the other saw that escape that way was impossible and turned to the rear, calling to Ranney to follow him. Burton reached a rear window and was rescued by firemen, but they could not reach his companion through the wall of flame and had no clue to his location. After the fire was subdued, the department continued to keep watch during the night, lest it might break out again. The loss was estimated at $325,000 to $350,000. The firm will rebuild. The illustration conveys a good idea of the completeness with which the building was involved.