Bangor, ME Fire, Apr 1911 - fire still raging

Ruins of Central Church, Bangor, ME Fire Apr 1911 Undertakers Row, Bangor, ME Fire Apr 1911 Searching for Bodies, Bangor, ME Fire Apr 1911 View from Harlow Street, Bangor, ME Fire Apr 1911


Greater Part of City Burned and Fire Still Raging.

LOSS NEARLY $10,000,000

Two Persons Have Been Killed, Twenty Injured and Thousands Are Homeless – Mayor Proclaims Martial Law and Calls Out Troops.

Bangor, Me, May 1 – Damage already estimated at nearly $10,000,000 has been caused by a fire which broke out in Bacon & Robinson’s coal sheds on Broad street Sunday afternoon. Thousands of people are walking the streets homeless. This morning the fire was not under control and the flames were sweeping northward toward Kenduskeag, carrying everything before them.

Two persons are known to have been killed and over twenty have been injured.
Electric lights are out of commission and trolley cars are completely stopped for lack of power.

Mayor Mullen has proclaimed martial law, called out the local company of militia of the national guard and telegraphed Governor Plaisted asking for more troops.

Everything north of York street, from Kenduskeag stream to the east side of Broadway, has been burned, and nearly all the fine residences in the most exclusive section of the city, as well as the postoffice and all of the largest office and business buldings, are in ruins. The First Congregational church on Broadway, one of the oldest in the state; First Baptist church, St. John’s Episcopal, the Central Congregational and the Universalist church are gone, as is the Windsor hotel and the high school building. The Bangor public library, with one of the most valuable collections of books in New England, is totally destroyed.

Dynamite powder and thousands of cartridges in the S. Crosby company’s sporting goods store, on Exchange street, exploded when the building caught fire. The lumber mills of Morse & Co., on Valley avenue, have caught fire and huge piles of lumber along the stream are a mass of flames.

Buildings Were Dynamited.
Help has arrived on special Maine Central teams from Augusta, Waterville, Lewiston, Buckport and Oldtown. Although scores of buildings have been dynamited, the firemen are powerless to check the flames. A strong southwest wind has been blowing since the fire started and cinders have been responsible for the extent of the fire. At midnight the wind appeared to be swinging somewhat to the westward and the fire was progressing up the river in the general direction of the Maine General hospital.

Company G, of the Second Maine infantry, which is stationed in Bangor, is on duty to prevent looting, and the cadet battalion from the University of Maine, at Orone, has just arrived under command of Colonel Varnum, Sixth United States cavalry, the commandment.

There are several million dollars’ worth of securities in the safety deposit vaults of the various banks that have been burned, and sentiles [sic] with loaded rifles are on guard.

Although the city hall has not yet caught fire, thirteen prisoners who were in cells at the police station have been released by order of the mayor.

An unknown fireman was struck by a falling wall from the Morse-Oliver building, at Exchange and State streets, and instantly killed early in the evening.

When the word was given for the firemen to leave the public library building all responded save John Wiltshire of Hook and Ladder company No. 1 A few minutes later he appeared at a third-story window. The crowd outside saw him stand there a moment before the floor gave way and he toppled into the raging furnace beneath.

Frank C. Hinckley was cut off in the belfry of St. John’s Episcopal church, where he was trying to quench a slight blaze. The front of the church caught beneath him, and he escaped by cutting the bell rope, fastening one end of it to a beam and sliding to the ground.

Entire City Panic-Stricken.
The entire city is panic stricken. Men, women and children early began to flee from the scene. Many tried to carry their household effects out of the fire, but it was impossible to secure wagon for this purpose, and so wheelbarrows and baby carriages were pressed into service into these were hastily packed what valuables could be thought of in moments when the bravest would be at their wit’s end and on every hand could be seen these people making their way into the open country to safety.
The firemen were absolutely helpful before the conflagration. Widening out on both sides, Mayor Mullen saw that only a miracle could save the business section of Bangor, and he ordered the chief of the department to use dynamite. Men accustomed to using the explosive in timbering were pressed into service. They place large quantities of dynamite in several building opposite the postoffice [sic] and blew them into small debris, but the roaring element was not to be stayed by such measures. Jumping over the newly made spaces, the flames seized upon other prey.

The News, Frederick, MD 1 May 1911