Cleveland, OH Fire, Mar 1882



CLEVELAND, Ohio, March 24.----The store of W. P. Southworth & Co., in Ontario-street, the largest retail and wholesale grocery in Cleveland, was totally consumed by fire between 2 and 6 o'clock this morning. The contents of the dry goods store of H. M. Brown and the furniture store of J. Krauss & Co. were also entirely ruined by smoke and water. The fire originated in a rear room of Southworth's store, where a number of barrels of oil were stored, and almost in a moment the whole place was in ruins. At 2:45 o'clock the flames made entry to Brown's and Krauss's establishments, in the Stanley Block, adjoining Southworth's on the South. The long mansard roof first caught, and the flames worked downward toward the floors of J. Krauss & Co., which are filled with furniture. The firemen secured a footing on the block next east, occupied by Knox, the photographer, and others, and by most valiant work succeeded in arresting a further spread of the flames. Water poured in deluges into the floors below, drenching the valuable goods. The heavy wall at the north end of the Southworth Building stood as a shield to the two-story wooden blocks which form the south-east corner of the square. A member of Southworth's firm says: "We owned and occupied the entire block, four stories high, and containing three large stores. Each floor was full of goods, our stock being valued at $150,000. The building was worth probably $40,000. On the stock we had an insurance of $90,000, and on the building $22,000, entirely in companies represented by Cleveland agencies. One hundred and twenty men will be thrown out of employment by the fire, which I feel sure, must be the work of an incendiary, as there was no fire in the building when I left it after 6 in the evening." At noon to-day the fire was still burning, and the firemen were throwing water upon the smoldering flames. At daylight it was discovered that serious damage had been done to the building No. 86 Public-square, by the falling of the rear wall of Southworth's block. The building is the property of the Henry Clark estate, and is occupied by J. C. Taylor & Brothers, dealers in boots and shoes. With irresistible force the falling wall crushed in the roof and part of the west wall of the building and broke through the wall in the second story of the building occupied by J. C. Taylor caught fire, but the flames were put out without any difficulty.

Within a few minutes after the alarm sounded for the down-town fire another came from the uptown district, about a mile away, requiring the presence of several engine companies which had already started for the Ontario-street fire. The second fire started in H. Campbell's dwelling in Sago-street, and spread to the neighboring houses and barns and sheds were destroyed and other property more or less damaged. The aggregate loss is not yet ascertainable. It is supposed this also was an incendiary fire, started for the purpose of dividing the Fire Department and causing a great destruction of property.

New York Times, New York, NY 25 Mar 1882