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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

Sheboygan Telegram: Sheboygan, Wisconsin Monday, February 20, 1899,   pp. 25-27

Page 25

A LOSS OF $450,000.
Port Washington Has Suffered a Heavy Blow.
Chair Company's Plant Is Burned.
Six Squares of the Neighboring City Wiped Out and Thirty Families Made
Homeless---Firemen Hurt.
Six blocks at Port Washington, including the Wisconsin Chair company's big
plant, were burned last night, and the neighboring city has received a blow from which it
will not soon recover.
The fire broke out at 9:15 in the veneering department of the chair company's
plant, which was totally destroyed. At 1 o'clock this morning the fire had spread to the
business center and a block of buildings on Franklin street began to bum. The Wilson
house then caught fire. Surrounding the buildings were extensive lumber yards and an
area of three squares was soon on fire.
The fire then spread across the river to an unoccupied foundry and the building
was soon reduced to ashes. In the meantime the fire traveled northward and westward
into the business district. The Postal Telegraph company's office burned and other
buildings were soon on fire.
When Mayor Mueller found that the local department could not cope with the
flames he sent dispatches to Milwaukee and Sheboygan. Chief Foley of the Milwaukee
department dispatched Engine Co. No. 4 with Asst. Chief Clancy to the scene and after
hurriedly loading a special train at the station in Milwaukee the firemen pulled out at
10:40 o'clock last night. It was a wild ride to the town, the twenty-five miles being made
in exactly twenty-eight minutes.
At the depot there the Milwaukee Fire department experienced much delay in
getting the heavy apparatus unloaded and a platform had to be built by the firemen before
the engines could be taken off. It was therefore nearly midnight before the Milwaukee
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.
At 1 o'clock the Milwaukee firemen were reinforced by the Sheboygan company.
Soon after company No. 10 arrived from Milwaukee. All went to work with a will and at
2:30 a.m. the fire was under control.

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