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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

Milwaukee Journal: Milwaukee, Wisconsin Monday, February 20, 1899,   pp. 48-51

Page 49

Fireman Hackett May Die.
Michael Hackett, a fireman of Milwaukee engine company No. 4, who was
helping to fight the flames and was struck by a brick from a falling chimney, will
probably die. He suffered a severe fracture of his spine.
A. M. Krause of the Sheboygan fire department had his knee badly injured.
Outside Aid Saves the Town.
Had it not been for the timely aid from Milwaukee and Sheboygan, the entire
town would have been wiped out.
The fire started in the fourth story of the chair factory, it is thought from steam
pipes. The plant was a heap of ashes in fifteen minutes.
Plant May Be Rebuilt.
It is not known today whether the chair factory will be rebuilt or not, as the
officers of the company are too busy looking up their loss to talk on the subject. It is the
belief among the citizens, however, that the plant will be rebuilt at once.
The Wisconsin Chair company's plant, the largest factory in the city, was burned
to the ground, and along with it several of the most important business houses of the city.
The fire started in the chair company's plant and quickly spread to the large
lumber yards and soon the entire plant, which covered three squares, was in flames.
The intense heat from the big fire caused the frame buildings across the river to
catch fire and the unoccupied foundry buildings of The Western Malleable and Gray Iron
company were soon reduced to ashes.
The block of houses just north of the lumber yards next caught fire and with
remarkable rapidity spread until two other blocks were wiped out.
Six Squares in Ashes.
Six square blocks in all were completely ruined. The territory was that 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 on 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.
The block bounded by Washington and Pier from Franklin to the lake has been
badly scorched, among the houses burned being the chair company's oilhouse, Joseph
Ubbink's carpenter shop, Martin & Wester Plow works, valued at $10,000; Mehren's
carpenter shop, Nic. Poulls's blacksmith shop, Nic. Raesser's residence, Silas Sizer's
residence, Michael Burmish's dwelling, Lambert's paint shop. John Roob's boarding
house and William Reuter's dwelling.

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