BIG TOBACCO BLAZE.
South Boston, Va., is a small town of hardly 1,900 inhabitants and one which, though utilised as a great tobacco storing village, has never thought it worth while to invest in any pretence at fire protection, although, during last summer it was visited with a destructive fire. The second visitation, which took place on March 28, in broad daylight may possibly open the eyes of its people to the propriety of guarding against a third of a similiar character. The town is situated 32 miles northeast of Danville and nearly as far from Durham, N. G., to both of which cities telegrams were sent for assistance. Danville responded, with a steamer hose wagon and crew; Durham also sent help. The fire broke out in the R. J. Reynolds company’s plant and was caused b.y a mishap to one of the drying machines. In a short time the four-story brick building was in flames throughout, and was quickly destroyed, with a loss of between $20,000 and $30,000. The fire then extended to the Reynolds three-story warehouse, in which were stored hundreds of hogsheads of tobacco valued at $100,000 or more, the building itself being worth $5,000. From the Reynolds’ buildings the flames soread to the storage house of the H. A. Thomas Lumber company, the factory of George A. Lea & Co. and the storage warehouse of T. B. Johnson, a tobacco merchant, who was a heavy loser by last summer’s fife. The telephone exchange, which was quite a distance off, all the tobacco district and a large section of the business section were destroyed. The fire burned from 2:30 p. m. till nearly midnight before it was even controlled and kept on burning till far into the following morning, the loss being estimated at $750,000. South Boston is the junction of the Southern and the Norfolk & Western Railroad and, with only two exceptions, has the largest tobacco storage in the United States.