On September 10 the greater part of the business section of Livermore Falls, Me., was destroyed by a fire which raged from 10 o’clock in the forenoon until well into the afternoon. The conflagration blotted out a number of the industries of the town and leveled a dozen or more stores and many dwelling houses. The fire broke out in the sawmill of the International Paper Company, a large wooden building on what is locally called Mill Hill, on the south side of the town. It is thought the blaze was caused by a hot box in the engine room. Within a very short time the entire sawmill and a quantity of lu.rber near it were a mass of flames. A moderately high wind from the west prevailed. It soon became apparent that a disastrous fire was in progress, and Lewiston and Auburn were called on for aid. The flames spread rapidly along the left side of Main street. From the saw mill the fire spread to the pulp mills and a leather-board plant, also owned by the International Paper Company. The company’s gristmill on the same side of the street, next caught fire, and within a few minutes the Internationa! Company’s planing mills were burning. All these buildings were of wood and burned very rapidly. At the planing mills the fire jumped to the right side of Main street and gained a foothold in the large wooden machine shops of Millet & Brosnehan. These were destroyed. The flames made a clean sweep down the right side of Main street as far as Depot street. All the buildings in the path of the fire up to this point were leveled. At the Sharof Bros.’ building the fire swept down Depot street and fora long distance burned everything in its path. The local fire engine had to be abandoned near Raymond’s planing mill, owing to the intense heat. The fire continued down Depot street, and at 1 o’clock it attacked the Riverside house. Before the fire reached the Riverside house the dwelling of Mrs. Hyde was blown up by dynamite, and similar steps were taken at the dwelling of George Whittier. This was blown to pieces; but the dynamiting operations had little effect. At 1:44 the hotel was burning furiously. In the afternoon, while the fire was at its height, a blaze was noticed in the Grand View house, some distance from the conflagration. From the nature of the blaze it is thought it was started by an incendiary. It was extinguished without much damage. SI ortly after 2 o’clock the wind changed, blowing the flames in the opposite direction, and at 2:50 the fire was under control. The fire was headed off within a few feet of the Riverside house, although a stable adjoining was destroyed. Thirty-four buildings in all, with a total value of $125,000, were destroyed. Among the buildings lost were the following : International Paper Company’s mill, $20,000, W. S. Treat, two blocks, $15,000; Sharof Bros.’ department store, $10,000; J. F. Lamb, two buildings, $7,000; Jewell’s block, $5,000; Albert Allen’s machine shop, $5,000; C. Newman, building and stock,$4,000; Millet & Brosnehan’s machine shop, $4,000; Raymond Bros.’ planing mill, $5,000. Nearly every piece of property was insured; but the aggregate insurance was hardly forty per cent, of the loss.
On the morning of Sunday’ last fire wiped out the whole of the business portion of New Westminster, B. C . the chief city on the Frazer river. Not a single public building was left standing in the central portion of the city. Fanned by a fierce wind, almost a gale, the fire, spread with such awful rapidity that ten streets were blazing in three hours, and only smoking ashes mark the spot where scores of houses formerly stood. Handsome blocks, banks, and churches went up in smoke. The cathedral of the diocese was utterly consumed. Hundreds of people are homeless, and relief was rushed from Vancouver. Two newspaper offices went up, as well as the Canadian Pacific railroad station, three river steamers, a railway bridge, and a number of private houses. The telegraph office at New Westminster was burned. The burned city is twelve miles from Vancouver. Returning to that city from the fire-swept Westminster is like coming from a land of desolation and ruin to another of smiling plenty. In New Westminster not a stone of the business houses remains standing, and several lives were lost. New Westminster today is without a store of any kind, without newspapers and without food, save that which Vancouver sends. Every industry save the big Royal City Planing Mills and Clove Canning Company has been wiped out. Every merchant’s office has been burned; bankers, clothiers, hotel men. saw-mill men. and canners— merchants of all descriptions—have nothing left in which to do business. The loss is roughly estimated at $3,500,000, with insurance of $1,500,000. The London Assurance Company is said to be the heaviest Io%er. The vaults of the bank buildings withstood the fire. The city of New Westminster contains 7,000 inhabitants, and has a fire area of 1 500 acres. Its mercantile buildings were of brick and stone, and from two to five stories in height. The private residences were chiefly frame. The fire department under Chief Ackerman is as follows: Steam fire engine, hand engine, chemical engine on wheels, hook and ladder truck, six hose carriages, hose wagon, hose, 900 feet good cotton, 3,500 feet good rubber. The total membership consists of thirty-one firemen, of whom six are paid full time and five are part paid. Game we 11 fire alarm; seventy-five hydrants, pressure thirty-five to 100 pounds. The people who have been burned out have now become dwellers in tents, and are encamped on the wide ojen space just beyond where the fire stopped. They have been made as comfortable as possible by the Provincial government and the militia department, which has supplied the tents, and the authorities of Vancouver. There was no panic; but thieves took advantage ef the fire to loot the stores, one of which lost $6,000 worth of boots and shoes. The Canadian Pacific railway station and baggage room were burned ; but everything of value was saved. The fire was at first thought to have teen started by a spark from a steamer, which ignited a wharf. Subsequent developments, however, open up the suspicion of incendiarism. The police have arrested Jack Sheppard, a farmer, who has asserted that he knew the fire would happen. Sheppard is considered mentally unbalanced. He was recently in jail for a trivial offence, and, when released, swore to “do” the town.
A third conflagration laid waste Jerome, a town of Arizona, which is utterly without any pretensions to fire protection. Over 260 buildings were burned, including one block of fifty cottages, valued at $ too,000, with but a nominal insurance, three hotels of the value of $40,000, $25,000, and $20,000 respectively, only one of which was insured, and that for a very small sum, two general merchandise stores, whose loss is $50,000 and $25,000. with but nominal insurance. The total loss is between $500,000 and $725,000, with but $50,000 insurance. The worst feature in the disaster is the loss of at least fifteen lives.