Wellsboro, PA Fire, Feb 1880

Considerable of a Fire


A few minutes past twelve o’clock last Saturday night Mr. M. M. Sears, who slept over his restaurant on Main street in this village, was aroused by a peculiar roaring noise in the block of which his building formed a part. Getting up hastily, he soon discovered that the block was on fire. It was evident that the flames had started from a chimney between Mr. Sears’s building and the one occupied by Mr. Robert G. Austin.

The alarm was at once given, and the fire-companies were promptly on hand, the Alert Hose boys reaching the field of action first then the Engine Company, and finally the Hook and Ladder Company. The engine took suction at the cistern in front of Hart’s store, and two streams were thrown upon the fire as soon as possible. The firemen worked with a will, and did good execution in confining the flames to the burning block. The Hook and Ladder boys were mainly occupied in tearing down out-houses and sheds in the rear of the burning building.

It was evident from the start that the whole wooden block from Crafton street to Wright & Bailey’s new brick store was doomed to destruction, and those citizens who arrived first upon the ground turned their attention to the removal of the goods and furniture in the burning buildings. The lower floors of all the stores were pretty well cleaned out, but some of the property on the upper floors was burned and considerable of it was damaged by rough handling.

The heat from the large pine building on the corner was quite intense, add the new bank building on the opposite corner was considerably scorched, but no very serious damage was done in that direction. As there was a brisk breeze blowing from the southwest directly down the street, some fears were felt for the new brick building just below the burning block. But that store had been erected with a view to meeting this very test and the solid brick firewall stood the order admirably. The fire burned rapidly, and within an hour and a quarter from the time the alarm was sounded the block was almost level with the ground. During the progress of the fire the cistern on Main Street was exhausted and the engine was moved across Water Street, to the creek in the rear of Dr. W. W. Webb’s residence. A second move was afterward made to the cistern behind Bowen block. All these changes were made without any unnecessary loss of time.