Jacksonville, FL Fire, May 1901
Jacksonville, Fla., May 3, 1901
One hundred and forty-eight city blocks laid waste. LOSS $15,000,000.
BILLOWS OF FLAME SWEEP JACKSONVILLE, LEAVING ASHES AND DEATH IN THEIR WAKE.
Acres of Smoldering Ruins Mark the Site of Metropolis of Florida -
TEN THOUSAND PERSONS LEFT WITHOUT SHELTER
Mayor Bowden Estimates That at Least That Many Have Been Made Homeless
IT IS FEARED MANY PERISHED IN AWFUL CONFLAGRATION
Property Loss Estimated at $15,- 000,000 - Hotels, Schools, Residences, Churches and Business Houses Were Swept Away. Jacksonville, Fla. May 4--1 a.m.-- The most disastrous fire in the history of this city began yesterday shortly after noon in a small factory, from a defective wire, according to the best belief, and burned for nearly ten hours. In that time a property damage estimated from $10,000,000 to $15,000,000 was effected.
According to the city map 130 blocks were burned many of them in the heart of the business and residence section. The estimate of houses to the block is ten, [illegible] of them went up in smoke. Many of the [illegible] and private buildings were destroyed [illegible] tels the [illegible] The [illegible]ties [part of article illegible] cannot be accurately estimated tonight. That there were several seems to be well authenticated. Among them was that of the fire chief, TOM HANEY who sustained a bad fall. MAYOR BOWDEN ordered all of the saloons closed and has impressed help to clear the wreckage.
The mayor at a late hour stated that he estimated the loss at $15,000,000, and that 10,000 to 15,000 people were homeless.
At 1 am the situation is one approaching desolation in a large section of the city. The burned district reaches from Burbridge street on the north to the St. Johns river on the south a distance of quite two miles. The width of the desolated area is thirteen blocks. Within this space practically everything is blackened ruins. On Bay street the principal mart of trade the Western Union Telegraph Company building is the first going west.
Everything east of Laura on Bay, is gone.
At 10:15 o'clock last night the fire was under control having practically burned itself out. The suburban settlements with the exception of La Villa are intact. La Villa was badly hurt. The extent of the damage cannot be told until tomorrow. Thousands of persons are on the streets tonight homeless with practically all of their worldly possessions upon their backs. The depot of the railroads, situated in the southeastern section, have been turned into temporary lodging houses and hospitals. Luckily the weather is fine so that there will be no suffering on that score.
Meetings of the city council, the commercial bodies and the charitable institutions will be called Saturday morning to devise ways and means for meeting the situation. It is not known yet if an appeal for help will be issued though it is thought likely that the exigencies of the occasion will demand such action. It is hoped that an appeal can be avoided.