Decatur, IL Commercial District Fire, Aug 1909

Business Section Fire Decatur, IL Fire 1909, photo from familyoldphotos.com

FIRE LOSS A MILLION.

DECATUR, ILL., VISITED BY DESTRUCTIVE FIRE.

OVER A SCORE OF THE LEADING BUSINESS HOUSES BURNED IN THE COMMERCIAL DISTRICT.

WATER SUPPLY IS EXHAUSTED AND FAMINE FOLLOWS THE FIRE -- HOTEL GUESTS IN PANIC -- FALLING WALLS COVER UP FIRE HOSE.

Decatur, Ill., Aug. 22. -- Fire today destroyed a block of buildings, causing a loss estimated at $1,000,000. Following the fire Decatur faced a water famine. It became necessary this afternoon to shut off the residence districts, the supply of water in the reservoir being low.
While the fire was in progress a blaze was discovered in the engine room of the Decatur hotel, situated a half block west of the district that was being destroyed. There was a panic among the guests, who realized that the firemen had a bigger job on their hands than they could handle, but prompt work by the hotel people extinguished the flames.
In response to a call for help Springfield sent an engine and fire crew, and this gave the city four engines with which to fight the flames. The department was crippled by falling walls covering several hundred feet of hose.
The following buildings, together with their stock of goods, were destroyed:
MOOREHOUSE & WELLS Hardware company.
HENRY BACHRACH, clothing.
JOHN SPOTTS, cigar dealer.
SAM'S confectionery store.
City Book store.
DICK'S pool room.
DANZIESEN'S meat market.
Peerless Cold Drink parlor.
White Front pool room.
Union Pacific Tea company.
MUNRO'S soft drink parlor.
BRINKMEYER building.
ROGGERS & CLARK, shoe store.
F. H. COLE Shoe company.
SHADE LOKEY shoe store.
YOUNG'S clothing store.
P. AUGUSTINE, optical store.
Noah's Ark.
Partly destroyed:
E. W. ARMSTRONG, drug store.
G. W. HARRIS, hat store.
POST jewelry store.
ELWOOD & HANDLIN clothing.
CHODAT book store.
RALPH & YOUNG, shoe store.
These buildings face on East Main street, Merchant street and Water street, and are in the very heart of the business district.
MOOREHOUSE & WELLS, in whose building the fire started, occupied a modern six-story building. THeir loss is complete and is estimated tonight at $300,000. Other losses range from $10,000 to $70,000.
The work of rebuilding the burned district will begin at once.

The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette Indiana 1909-08-23

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Decatur, IL Fire, Aug 1909

Decatur, Ill., Fire-Swept.

Loss of $1,000,000 Inflicted on Business Section of the City.

Decatur, Ill., Aug. 22.-A score of business buildings were destroyed and a dozen others were damaged to-day by a fire that swept along the business portion of East Main, Merchant, and Water Streets. The total damage is placed at $1,000,000, with insurance of about 80 per cent.

The fire burned from 1 o’clock this morning until sunset and was the worst in the history of the city. The city experienced a water famine to-night, as the supply in the city reservoir was almost exhausted by the fire fighters. The water works to-night are working under high pressure to refill the reservoir.

While the fire was at its height to-day a blaze was discovered in the engine room of the Dresser Hotel, a half block west of the main fire. There was a panic among the guests who realized that the firemen already had more than they could handle. Prompt work by hotel employees and guests extinguished the flames before they had spread to any great extent.

Springfield, Ill. sent an engine and a fire crew to aid Decatur’s three engines, but this help was offset by the loss under falling walls of several hundred feet of hose. Moorehouse & Wells, in whose building the fire started, in East Main Street, suffered $300,000 loss.

The New York Times, New York, NY 23 Aug 1909