Titusville, PA Fire, Mar 1866


The Moore House and Fourteen Buildings Destroyed.

LOSS FROM $75,000 TO $100,000

Insurance less than $25,000


We are again called upon to record a most disastrous fire, sweeping away an entire square in one of the most populous and best business sections of the city. The Moore House and fourteen buildings are in flames at the present writing (11 o’clock), and fears are entertained that the adjoining square must be involved in the conflagration.

Unfortunately both of the engines are inoperative in consequences of the extreme cold, and the multitude are rushing to and fro in a while and distracted condition, vainly exerting themselves to stay the destroying flames.

The fire broke out in the livery stable of J. V. Kibble. The alarm was started at precisely at ten o’clock. At that juncture our reporter was standing at the corner of Spring and Franklin streets, and hearing the cry, ran down Franklin and saw a bright light through the cracks of the barn, in the loft of the stable. Mr. H. Bunting and others were endeavoring to break in the doors, and as soon as they succeeded, the crowd rushed in an commenced to remove the vehicles on the ground floor. There were no horses in the stable. Mr. Kibble having left yesterday morning with his entire stock.

The engines, hose and hook & ladder were quickly on the ground and commenced active operations. Washington engine No. 1 took suction in the mill race, near the Titusville mill, but it was found that the valves were frozen and the machine would not take suction. Chief Engineer Gelb at once discovered the cause of the difficulty and directed some of the men to procure hot water.

TWELVE O’CLOCK.—The engines are both vigorously at work and doing excellent service. The flames rapidly extended to Water street on the south and Arch street on the north, and to the Moore House in the rear, and before any water could be effectually supplied, that magnificent building was completely wrapped in flames.

The citizens used their utmost exertions to save property and furniture, and a portion of the contents of the Moore House were safely removed and also from several of the stores on Franklin street.

But everything was thrown promiscuously into street; and it would have seemed almost impossible for any owner to identify his goods.

The engines were worked effectually, but as usual the crowd were indifferent, and a few men were left to do the work. Hundreds of citizens stood by with their hands in their pockets, and no degree of persuasion could induce them to “man the brakes.”

Citizens Engine Co. No. 1, Harry Randall, Foreman, did excellent service in Arch street, and prevented the flames from extending to Andrews & Brewer’s building, and the Wolfe block, opposite the Moore House.

Washington Engine No. 2, got suction in the raceway, west of the Titusville Mills, and soon quenched the angry flames on Franklin street, and stopped their progress southward. They saved the south side of Water street, when everybody feared that the fire would cross the raceway, envelop Good’s block, destroying the stores of Brown & Barron and Olmsted & Jewhurst.

The burnt district comprises the entire square between Arch street and Water street, and Franklin street and the unoccupied lots on Martin street. The derrick and engine house of the Leland & Mills wells were both entirely destroyed.