Washington, DC Harvard Laundry Fire, Mar 1907


Ninth Street Blaze Thought to Be Incendiary.


Traces of Oil Seen by Firemen in Water that Poured from Building---Loss, Including Property of Customers, Estimated at Between $10,000 and $12,000, Partly Covered by Insurance.

Fire yesterday practically wiped out the Harvard laundry, 731 Ninth street northwest, and damaged the building to such an extent that it will probably have to be rebuilt.

The origin of the blaze, which was discovered about 6:30 in the morning, in a mystery. The water from the first streams running out of the front part of the building, contained numerous traces of oil, and it was the belief of the firemen the fire was the work of incendiaries Fire Marshal T. W. Nicholson has started an investigation, and his official report will probably be filed to-day.

Volumes of smoke were seen issuing from the office of the laundry by Richard Anderson, a street car switchman, stationed at Ninth and G streets northwest, who turned in an alarm and communicated with the police of the First precinct. Upon the arrival of Assistant Chief Wagner, it was immediately see that additional apparatus was required, and a second alarm was turned in bringing to the scene Chief Belt, who assumed charge.

Airshafts Aid Flames.

The flames spread rapidly to the second floor of the building, aided by a strong draft in two airshafts and the stairway. Pipemen with hose were sent up ladders to the second story and roof, from which position they literally deluged the two stories of the building with water. Additional firemen were sent to the rear of the building, where they succeeded, after hard work, in checking the spread of the flames, and saved a quantity of clothes stored in the rear of the first floor.

Loss May Reach Twelve Thousand.

The blaze was checked shortly after 9 o'clock. The property of the laundry company, of which T. H. Marshall is the manager, was practically destroyed, entailing a loss of $10,000 to $12,000, in addition to a large quantity of half-laundered linen belonging to customers, which was also destroyed. The damage to the building will amount to $6,000.

The insurance held by the laundry company was but $2,500 on machinery. The wall-paper firm of Charles J. Bogan & Co., situated at 733 Ninth street, sustained a loss of $50 to the stock, due to quantities of smoke working its way through partitions in the rear of the buildings.

The Washington Post, Washington, DC 4 Mar 1907