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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 47

The block bounded by Washington and Pier from Franklin to the lake has been
badly scorched, among the houses burned being the oilhouse of the chair company,
Joseph Ubbink's carpenter shop, Martin & Wester's Plow works, valued at $10,000;
Mehren's carpenter shop, Nic Poull's blacksmith shop, Nic. Raesser's resident, Silas
Sizer's residence, Michael Burmish's dwelling, Lambert's paint shop, John Roob's
boarding house and William Reuter's dwelling.
Thirty Familes Homeless.
It is estimated that thirty families have been made homeless, though most of them
saved their household goods. The fire is still burning fiercely in the burned portion and it
will be late today before the flames will have been entirely subdued.
Work of the Milwaukeeans.
Asst. Chief Clancy is confining his entire attention to keeping the fire from
spreading on Franklin street to the other business blocks, while the Sheboygan company
is working on Pier street, where the flames are under control and will not spread to the
residences across the streets.
Ald. Bolens said this morning that if the volunteers could have had a hand engine
for ten minutes when the fire was first discovered, the calamity could have been averted.
The roof collapsing on the veneer house shut off the stream fire pump in the factory and
when the hand engine arrived the blaze was beyond control. Soon after both the hand and
steam engine broke down, leaving the town helpless.
Engineer Cuckle Missing.
It is reported that Engineer Cuckle of the chair company is missing and was lost in
the building. Whether or not the report is true, cannot be verified but no one is reported
to have seen him since the fire.
Estimate of the Losses.
President Dennett said this morning that his loss will reach $300,000. The firm is
fully insured. The warehouses of the company were stocked to the roof. In addition to
the chair company the loss to other property will be perhaps from $80,000 to $100,000.
At 10 o'clock last night Chief Foley received the following telegram from Port
Washington: Town is burning up. Send us engines. (Signed) MILLER, Mayor.
Chief Foley immediately dispatched Engine Co. No. 4 in charge of Asst. Chief
Clancy. The engine was loaded on a flat car while 1,000 feet of hose were loaded on
another car. The special train left here at 10:30 o'clock.


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