Springfield, MA Wallpaper Store Fire, Jan 1900


Lively Blaze at 88 Main Street Last Evening.

The store of the Boston wall paper company at 88 Main street was badly damaged by fire shortly after 7 o’clock last evening, and the stock of wall paper and paints and oils is a total loss. The proprietors could not state what their loss would be, but there had been an insurance of $4000 on the stock until recently. The company, of which Joseph Langanaur and Albert Karn were the members, had a branch store in Hartford, but recently that was closed and the stock was brought to swell the stock in this city. The stock in Hartford was covered with $2000 insurance, and a similar amount was on the stock in this city, the policies having been written by E. J. Murphy and S. C. Warriner. No notification of the removal of the stock from Hartford had been given, however, and the proprietors thought last evening that nothing could be collected from it. Judging from the insurance carried the loss must be about $4000 or more.

The fire did quick work among the highly-inflammable supplies. Mr. Karp was preparing to close the store about 7 o’clock, and started through a door into a back room for coal. As he opened the door he was nearly stifled by the sudden bursting out of smoke and flames. The back room was then enveloped in flames. An assistant worked with Mr. Karp in an effort to remove a pile of wall paper near the door, but they soon gave it up and rushed for box 42, from which the department was called. The apparatus from Pynchon street, Bond street, Hooker street and Chestnut street was quickly on the scene. One line of hose from chemical B from the Chestnut-street house was used and one line of hose from the Bond-street house. The flames were quickly under control, but not until the stock was ruined.

The flames seemed to follow a series of explosions, and as soon as the rear door was opened, spread through the front part of the store with such a rush that the large plate-glass windows were cracked, and parts of them fell upon the sidewalk with a crash. The department gained control before the building was burned to any extent, but for a time it seemed that the Boston cash market, managed by John C. Burke which adjoins, would be destroyed. The only damage done in that store was from a severe smoking that was given the stock. The fire department was at work on the fire for fully three-quarters of an hour.

Springfield Republican, Springfield, MA 26 Jan 1900