Reno, NV Fire, Mar 1879

Disastrous Fire In Nevada.

The Business Part Of Reno Destroyed-Five Lives And $1,000,000 Lost-Two Or Three Central Pacific Trains Burned.

San Francisco, March 2.-A dispatch from Reno, Nev., says: "At about 5:15 'clock this morning an alarm of fire was sounded. The fire started in some wooden buildings at the west end of the business streets back of the Masonic Block. A strong gale was blowing from the west, and before water could be thrown on the fire it was beyond control. The flames leaped from house to house and block to block with the rapidity of lightning, and the panic-stricken people jumped from their beds, seized handfuls of their most valuable property and escaped, leaving all else to the flames. The firemen were helpless, as the strength of the gale and intensity of the heat rendered close approach to the flames impossible. In three hours the whole business portion of the town was in ashes, with the exception of the Masonic Building, with Hagerman & Schoolings Grocery store, on its first floor, and John Larcomb's store,. Among the buildings destroyed are three freight depots, Bender's Bank, the Post Office, Shoemaker's Drug Store, Pollard, International, and Arcade Hotels, the depot, Davidson's and Frederick's jewelry stores, Penninger & Osburn's drug store, both telegraph offices, Wells Fargo & Co.'s office, the railroad and baggage rooms, the Baptist and Catholic churches, Hammond & Wilson's stable, the Academy of Music, Barnett's, Prescott's, and Grey & Isaac's dry goods stores, Abraham's and Nathan's clothing stores, Manning & Duck's Farmer's Co-operative Association grocery stores. Two or three Central Pacific trains, including the lightning train, were also destroyed. The condition of the track made it necessary to transfer passengers to the Virginia and Truckee train, across the river, for Virginia City.

The loss as nearly ads can be calculated at present is about $1,000,000, and the insurance only about $150,000. Only five lives known to have been lost, those of MRS.JOHN NECK, JOHN RILEY, and three tramps. A number of persons were injured, but at this time it is impossible to obtain correct information regarding them.

The gale was the fiercest known for years, and it carried blazing pieces of timber miles away, and several farm houses two miles distant were burned in this way. After working until exhausted, the whites forced Chinese to work on the engines. Already several persons are having lumber hauled on their still smoking ground. Homes are in great demand, and the citizens are throwing open their doors to the homeless, and are doing all they can to relieve the distressed.

The buildings on Plaza Street, including the Academy of Music, were all destroyed, and the fire only ceased its ravages when there was nothing left for destruction. Even the residences of W.H. Getchell and W.H. Treadway and others were not far enough away to be saved. The Central pacific Yard engine No. 48 fought the fire until her cab caught fire, when the engineer had to abandon her to her fate. A water train arrived from Truckee, but it was too late to do any good. Reno is now a suburb without a town, and great fear is entertained as to its ability to survive the shock.

The New York Times, New York, NY 3 Mar 1879