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Wester, Kevin J. (ed.) / Consumed by fire : a collection of writings about the famous Wisconsin Chair Company fire, Port Washington, Wisconsin, February 19, 1899
([1997])

Milwaukee Sentinel: Milwaukee, Wisconsin Monday, February 20, 1899,   pp. 44-48


Page 46

firemen were able to assist in subduing the flames. The Milwaukee men found the local
department standing about, all the hand apparatus having been broken down from
overstraining the pumps, and the entire city was at the mercy of the roaring mass of
flames which then covered several blocks.
Hurrying to Save Property.
Everybody for blocks around was moving out. Women and children were
carrying their household goods to neighbors at the further end of the town, while men
were making their best efforts to save their homes by keeping them wet down.
Engine No. 4 Quickly at Work.
The arrival of No. 4 company of Milwaukee was greeted with cheers by the
alarmed people.
The two streams from it were directed to saving business blocks, the factory then
being beyond hope of saving.
Loose Hose Could Not Be Used.
Another serious obstacle was met with. It was found that the hose of the home
department did not fit with that of the Milwaukee department, and consequently only the
1,000 feet which the Cream City men had brought was available.
Capt. P. J. Linehan's men worked hard and at 1 o'clock were reinforced by a
Sheboygan company. Soon after company No. 10 arrived from Milwaukee and was put at
work.
Factory Loss a Severe One to Town.
The loss of the chair factory is a serious one to Port Washington. Even if rebuilt it
will take some time for the people to recover from the setback. A large portion of the
population is dependent on it for a livelihood and the employees besides being thrown out
of employment lost their tools. Steps to supply relief if needed, will be taken at once.
Among the Milwaukeeans who came here on the first special train are Acting Mayor
Corcoran, Assistant Comptroller George Porth, Michael Dunn, H. J. Delaney and P. T.
Graves.
Under Control at 2 a.m.
At 2 a.m. the fire was under control. Six square blocks have been wiped out. The
territory includes that portion bounded by Franklin street to the lake, a distance of two
blocks, and from Pier street to Wisconsin street, a distance of three blocks. Every
business house in the east side of Franklin street, between Main and Wisconsin streets is
in ashes, but the large tannery of Mayor Miller on Wisconsin and Franklin streets was
saved. The fire did not reach the west side of Franklin street though all the buildings had
a close call.


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