$45,000 LOSS IN FIRE AT MCMECHEN

ENTIRE BUSINESS
SECTION THREATENED
BY CONFLAGRATION

 

Ten Buildings Almost Total Loss Result of Early Morning Blaze.

 

Six buildings to ash­ and, four others were practically des­troyed and property loss amounting to nearly forty-five thousands dollars resulted from a fire, which swept the Sixth street part of the business section of McMechen this morning.

 

            The burned buildings are:

S.N. Mart’s saloon and residence, where the fire ‘started; building own­ed by Wm. Schad.

Wm. Schad’s double residence building, occupied by the families of George Keats and James Hail.

J. C. Weidman’s 5 and 10 store. Theodore Wenzel’s’ hotel and restaurant.

Charles Schultz’ dwelling and con­fectionary; meat, market adjoining owned by Mr. Schultz also damaged,

Mayor’s office, owned by Dr. M. A. Dowler

Pete Seltner’s residence and clothing store, owned by Dr. M. A. Dowler.

James Mitchell’s residence owned by B. B. McMechen.

Ray Miller’s barber shop, owned by’ W. D. Wells

W.D. Wells’ residence.

Underleider’s saloon, owned by J. Slipner of Benwood was also damaged to the extent of about $250 Linebergir & Hunter’s general store was Damaged shout $4000, fully covered by Insurance

 

            The Fire started in the Hart saloon L, building It was discovered about

4:30 o’clock ‘and• the alarm was soon given. “0. V. Marple, who has been acting as special policeman since the robbery scares a few weeks ago, rushed to the building to waken Mr. and (Mrs. E N. Hart. And their two children and Mr. Hart’s aged father, who lived’ over the saloon. When ‘Mr. ‘Hart was wakened the whole interior of. the back room and hall on the second floor was mass of flame and the stairway escape was cut off. A ladder was quickly secured and Of­ficer Marple assisted the Hart family to make a hasty escape from their perilous position in’ the burning buildings.

             The McMechen fire department and ‘the Benwood department were quickly on the scene. They were hamper­ed by having to run a strand of hose from the hitchman mine a distance of about two thousand feet. It was seen that the flames were spreading avidly and a call for aid was tent to Wheeling Fire Chief Rose respond­ed, bringing the engine from the Fort Kalbitzer department and the chemi­cal truck from the ‘Atlantic engine house.

             The flames spread from the Hart salon. Rapidly eastward toward, the main street, licking up the Hall and Kerns residence,- the Weidman no­tion house and the Wenezl hotel, all on the north side of the street. The Lineberger & Hunter general store and stables were next In the path of the flames, but fortunately a little foresight on the part of the owners was responsible for the fireproof building, which, while damaged some what; proved a barrier to the spread’ of the fire and undoubtedly prevent­ed the entire square from being wiped out.

             The explosion of a lot of whiskey in the Hart saloon threw fire across Sixth street, setting fire to the Schultz buildings on the south side of the street, The Schultz store and dwelling was almost wholly ruined, his brick meat shop just west was damaged and the mayor’s office, Seltner’s residence and store were burned down and the Mitchell and Wells residences and Miller’s barber shop, between the Schultz buildings and the car line were gutted by the flam­es,

             The Underleicter saloon, a frame building was next in the fire line on that side of the street. The McMechen, Benwood and Wheeling firemen were working desperately to cheek the oncoming conflagration, but it seemed that the entire row of build­ings an that side of the street must go, allowing the flames, to get, up to Main street.

Fortunately however, the wind changed and the flames were blown back into the burned out area and the fire companies taking advantage of this, working with increased vigor and the fire was out in a few min­utes.

             So quickly had the flames spread from the time the fire was first discovered that occupants of the build­ings which were burned had no time to remove the cabinets, and most of the furniture and stock in the fire district were burned, adding greatly to the loss. Compared with the value of the property burned, thorn was but very little insurance.

E. N. Hart owner of the saloon where the fine started, estimated his loss saloon fixtures and stock and household furniture at $4,000. His insurance had just expired and the agent had not renewed it.

            George Kerns and James Hall who lived in the residence adjoining the saloon estimate their loss at $800 each, with no insurance. William Schad’s lose on the two buildings will be about $5,000.

             S. C. Weidman’s loss on his 5 and 10 store was about $4000 with $2,000 insurance. The loss on Wenzel’s hotel and res­taurant was not learned- In addi­tion to his buildings Mr. Wenzel had about 300 fine chickens burned to death. Charles Schultz lost in all about $4,000, partly insured. Dr. Dowlers ‘buildings were worth $4000 and were not insured while B. B. McMechen’s loss was $1000 with no insurance

Peter Seltner estimated that of his $12000 worth of property he saved $1,000 worth of stock from his store and carried $5,500 insur­ance making his net loss about $5,500.

The loss at Lineberger & Hunter’s general store was about $4,000, ful­ly covered by insurance. The interior of the metal stable in the rear was burned and fire and, heat damaged the store building considerably. ‘Most of their damage however, was from water on the stock, including $1,200 worth of flour.

The city of McMechen lost about $300 worth of fixtures and books. The records were in ,the safe and for a time it ‘was ‘feared that the vault had. not proved fire proof but when Fire Chief ‘Baumberger ‘Opened ‘the vault he found the records were safe ‘

Together with other damages including scorched paint burned roofs and cracked windows the residence  or mayor Morris James Lutes and Calvin Thompson facing on 5th street and burned cables and wires on both the National and bell telephone lines and broken and scratched  furniture which’ Was taken from the burning buildings it was believed  $45,000 is a very conservative estimate of the loss and when an inventory is taken it may be found to reach $50,000 which the estimate mayor Morris gave the echo earlier today.

            The saloons were ordered closed for a couple of bourn this morning, and chief Grandstaff had his full force of regular and special police on duty

In spite of the watchfulness of the police however it Is said that there was a great deal of looting around the fire scene. Two suits of good clothes are known to have been tak­en from men who lost nearly every thing in the fire

The saloons were ordered closed for a couple of bourn this morning, and chief Grandstaff had his full force of regular and special police on duty

In spite of the watchfulness of the police, however it is said that there was a great deal of looting around the fire scene. Two suits of good clothes are known to have been tak­en from men who lost nearly every— lb lug In the flit’ and several art ivies were taken from the business build­ings.

The fire was extinguished before eight o’clock and the work of repairing burned out telephone lines and restoring normal conditions in the fire district and preparing aid for The fire victims was well under way in a few minutes. how the fire started is a mystery, and probably will never be known.