North Adams, MA Fire, Feb 1898

EARLY MORNING FIRE

Clothing and Photograph Firms Burned Out. Narrow Escape from Suffocation.

The stock of the Bell Clothing company, J. H. Levin, agent, was totally destroyed by fire this morning. The store is at 41 Eagle street in a building owned by E. D. Angell.

An alarm from box 6 was sounded shortly after 5 o'clock and all of the companies responded promptly. For some reason there was a little delay in getting water from some of the hydrants and the fire had gained considerable headway when the water was turned on. It took about an hour to subdue the fire and the stock in the store is a total loss. The stock was estimated by the proprietors at $4,500 and was insured for $2,500. The building is badly damaged, but the loss is covered by insurance. B. J. Boland, whose grocery sore adjoins the building on the north, suffers a slight loss by smoke and water, which is covered by insurance.

The worst sufferer is Photographer Bombardier, whose gallery was directly over the clothing store. In the floor was a skylight about four feet square. The glass was soon broken by the heat and the smoke poured up into the gallery in large volumes. Mr. Bombardier slept near this skylight and narrowly escaped death by suffocation. When he awoke he was almost overcome and it was with difficulty that he got out of the building. He had not time to dress, but made his way to the street in his night shirt and ran up and down looking for a fire alarm box, which in his excitement he was unable to find, and the alarm was given by some one else. Mr. Bombardier lost $45 in cash and all of his clothes, and the loss on his photographic outfit is large. He estimates his total loss at from $400 to $500, and he had no insurance. He is thankful that he escaped death.

The origin of the fire is not known. Chief Engineer Byars says it started not far from the stove in the rear part of the store, but he does not think it caught from the stove. It spread very rapidly and while not much of the stock was totally consumed, all was ruined. The caused [sic] will probably be investigated.

Mr. Levin, formerly of the Troy cash grocery, had run the store for three or four months. It is not known whether or not the business will be resumed. Wallace Kearn has charge of the building, which will be put in order as soon as the insurance is adjusted.

North Adams Transcript, North Adams, MA 17 Feb 1898