FIRE AT FRYEBURG.
On August 31 a conflagration swept the town of Fryeburg, Me., and, as there was no organised fire department, the natural result followed. Two hotels, two business houses and twelve residences were destroyed, and the flames spread to the forest, threatening a still greater destruction. The buildings destroyed were all frame and included the Oxford house, a tour-story hotel, the Fryeburg house, an unoccupied hotel, two millinery and dry goods stores and twelve residences. Ah were totally destroyed. The flames raged for flve hours from the central portion of the town. The loss is estimated at $90,000, half of which amount was on the Oxford house. Most of the losses were covered by insurance, the hotel property having $18,000. Only alter help had been summoned from Portland, and dynamite, supplied by the Saco Valley Granite company, Iliad been used in blowing up buildings in the path of the flames, was the conflagration under control. No lives “‘were lost, and only one man was injured. The fire started in the Oxford house at 10 O’CIOCK a. m., and the seventy-two guests speedily made their escape, without being able to save one tithe of their property. Smoke was seen issuing from the rooUof the hotel near tne chimney; but there was not pressure enough in the water pipes to force streams up to it. One of the bellboys, ran out hose; hut the water fell short. What serves as a fire department was summoned; hut the services of the men were of no use, and the hotel was soon doomed. A strong northeaster fanned the flames and blew sparks and embers all over the town. The citizens used wet sheets and blankets to cover their shingled roofs, and bucket brigades innumerable were organised. In spite of everything, however, the flames from the back of the hotel caught a millinery store and a storehouse and made short wor.v of them. Portland, distant fifty miles, sent two hose wagons, a steamer and tw’o companies of firemen by special train. When they arrived, four dwellings and a printing office were afire. The firemen, on reaching the fire hydrants, found that their threads and those of the Fryeburg hydrants were not uniform, so that their hose was useless. They, therefore, left their engine and turned in to help the bucket brigades and soon saved one dwelling in which was much costly furniture, paintings and bric-abrac. On Main street, the flames leveled every west side building from the North Conway road on. Several times the post office roof was aflame in spots. The Congregational church spire caught fire once and the roof twice, hut both were saved. The roof of one residence caught fire ten or twelve times. The residences of others also caught fire from flying embers, hut were saved. On Portland street, the fire skipped several stores and dwellings on the easterly side of the street and destroyed the next three buildings beyond— the unoccupied Fryeburg house, a summer home, and another dwellinghouse owned by William Durgan and occupied by Woodman Gray. On the westerly side of Portland street the ten buildings nearest Main street were saved; hut four dwellings, one filled with very expensive contents, including a $3,000 library, were destroyed. Burning embers were wafted a mile to the Walker mills and set fire in the plains. A big crew of mill men fought the fire in this district, hut a farm house was burned and other property endangered. An effort to stay the progress of the fire with dynamite was made by men from Saco Valley Granite company, two houses being blown up: but the fire jumped over the debris to the buildings beyond. The flames attacked the forest, also, and their course was stayed. What does duty for fire protection at Fryeburg consists of a hook and ladder truck, 1,000 ft. of hose and a fire alarm bell. No one is in command, and each man does as seems best in his own eyes. The water supply from mountain streams is abundant, and there are some twenty hydrants seT in the village, with a water pressure of sixty lbs. Tt would he advisable for the town to enroll and have drilled an efficient volunteer fire department, to appoint a chief that knows somethin” of what should he done, to invest in a steamer and a hose wagon, and to accommodate the thread of its hydrants to those of Portland.
Newport, R. I., proposes to establish a truly millionaire volunteer fire department, with William Vanderbilt, jr.. as its chief and various other plutocrats as officers, rank and file.