DESTRUCTIVE FIRE AT CHARLESTON.
SINCE the Hayne street conflagration of fifteen years ago, Charleston, S. C., has never been visited with such a destructive fire as that which broke out in an attic before 4 o’clock a. m., in a dime museum on the corner of King and Line street and destroyed ten buildings, besides more or less damaging ten others, causing a total loss of between $25,000 and $27,000. A general alarm was sent out, and the whole department, with the exception of the reserve engines, was brought to the spot. By the time the first firemen reached the scene the flames had already spread from the dime museum building across to a tent and a Chinese laundry. Sparks were dying in every direction. The old dry frame structures burned like wild-fire. By the time the full department arrived the sparks had played such havoc that practically every building already alluded to was on fire. Chief Marjenhoff quickly surrounded the burning structures, with the determination to keep the flames from spreading farther, while he worked on the blaze already raging furiously. This move undoubtedly prevented a far more serious and destructive fire. Once the flames gained headway on the buildings between the show and a confectionery store, aud the liquors in the dispensary began to ignite, it was apparent that there was nothing to be guined from fighting in that locality. The firemen turned their attention to that quarter, and by clever and rapid work saved the buildings and another house from total destruction. Meanwhile the houses in the rear of the laundry and the adjoining court were blazing brightly, and the fire there was in a fair way to consume the entire neighborhood. The houses are jammed together as close as possible. While the department had several streams of water playing on this part of the fire, a residence over in Spring street blazed up. An engine was hurriedly dispatched to the scene, and in a few moments it extinguished the flames and returned to the main fire. At 5:l9o’clock, after a little more than one hour’s heroic work, the Humes were under control and Chief Marjenhoff caused two taps to be sounded. After that it was precautionary fighting until at 11:04 o’clock four bells were rung and the last engine was sent back to its station. The firemen were handicapped by the bitterly cold weather; but they, with the police saved many lives. The poor people were rescued in their night clothes; the majority were colored who have lost everything. The fire had made big headway before it was discovered, and the neighborhood was a bad one, the houses, nearly all frame, lying quite close together. Notwithstanding the adverse conditions. Chief Marjenhoff and Assistant Chief Behrens did wondrously One work, as did their men.
A correspondent says: “Upon arrival of the department two minutes after the alarm had been sounded, more thau five buildings were a perfect furnace, and the fire had already extended to three on the opposite side of the street Flames poured out of every opening, and, to add to the terror of the scene, a number of loud explosions shook the surroundiug buildings aud smashed the glass in the windows. Broken glass filled the air on all sides, and the firemen were every moment in danger of being struck by the flying fragments. A strong northwest wind was blowing, and it took the concerted efforts of the department to keep the fire from spreading. Members of truck 1, with three and six-gallon extinguishers,also chemical engine company, were distributed to watch shingled roofs to leeward, and not less than a dozen tires ou shingled roof buildings four blocks away were extinguished. Many strangers and insurance men who were at the tire were loud in praising the work of the department, aud declared that in checking the blaze so quickly it accomplished a splendid piece of work, taking into consideration that the buildings, with a few exceptions, were old two-story frame shingled roofs.
“A colored wake was rudely interrupted by the breaking of the fire. In a cabin lay the remains of a negro man, surrounded by several members of his family and a number of neighbors. For a few minutes after the house was discovered to be in flames the body seemed to have been overlooked or forgotten in the exctiremeut. Some of the iumates began snatching up their household effects apparently with never a thought of the corpse. Cooler heads prevailed, however, and but for that fact it is not improbable that a cremation would have resulted. Two strong men, one at the head and the other at the feet of the body, picked up the corpse aud bore it to a house at St. Philip and Bogard street.”