Petrolia, PA Fire, Dec 1889


The Town of Petrolia, Pa., Wiped Out in Flame.

PITTSBURGH, Pa., Dec. 23.—A special to the Times from Butler, Pa., says: The little town of Petrolia, fifteen miles north of here, once the scene of the livliest [sic] oil happenings in the country, was decollated by a fire which started at three o’clock yesterday morning and raged fiercely, helped by a high wind, until the entire business portion of the town was destroyed, a blow from which the place will doubtless never recover, and its seven hundred inhabitants will seek new places to live in other oil towns. The fire originated in Klingensmith’s store, and swept up Main street, consuming the frame buildings on both sides and reaching back to the side streets, making a clean sweep of ruin among the stores, dwellings and hotels.

The town has a fire department which responded promptly, but the water pipes were clogged up and refused to do service, and the flames had it all their own way until they died out for want of something to burn. The buildings were all frame affairs two stories high, the lower floors used for business while the upper stories were used for dwellings, and of the whole business community there are now left but two stores, a bank and hotel.

Owing to the inflammable material in the buildings the rate of insurance is high and the owners, in but an instance or two, had any insurance, so that the loss, which will reach between $85,000 and $100,000, is a total one and the majority of the sufferers lose their all. No lives were lost nor any injuries reported.

Decatur Daily Republican, Decatur, IL 23 Dec 1889