Milton, PA Fire, May 1880
THE DESTROYED VILLAGE
THE RUINS AND GREAT DISTRESS AT MILTON
SCENES AT THE BURNED VILLAGE---AID COMING TO THE DESTITUTE INHABITANTS----LOSSES ESTIMATED AT $2,000,000----THE LOSERS AND THEIR INSURANCE.
MILTON, Penn., May 15,----The scene at Milton this morning beggars description. Nothing remains except the black and desolate ruins of the once prosperous town. The people spent last night in the remaining houses---the nail works and the planing mill. The entire number of building destroyed was 666, and only two places of business escaped destruction. The vaults and books of the banks were uninjured. The body of the strange man who was burned last night was identified this morning as a Mr. Angery. He was 85 years old, and was attempting to save the stable of the Poorhouse. Several other persons were slightly injured. Mrs. Sticker died during the night from fright. The fire originated from sparks from the saw mill attached to the car works.
The village has been crowded with people all day. The scene at noon was heartrending. Hundreds gathered around the planing mill, where food was distributed by the relief committee. Several carloads of provisions arrived during the day from Harrisburg. Williamsport, and other places. A telegraphic order was received from the Treasurer of the Philadelphia relief committee for $5,000 and promising more, and another one from Col. McClure authorizing the proper persons here to draw on the Times for $750. Two hundred and fifty tents were sent here by Gov. Hoyt this afternoon. They were erected in the fields adjoining the town. Four car-loads of people went to Watsontown to spend the night. Food was again distributed at the planing mill this evening, and persons who were worth thousands of dollars yesterday morning appeared to accept charitable relief this evening. The next distribution of food will take place at 9 A. M. to-morrow. Along with the other relief coming here, there arrived on the noon train 30 kegs of beer. Remonstrance was made against its delivery, and finally it was returned to the shipping point. To guard against accidents, a gang of men has been set to work tearing down the crumbling ruins.
At five o'clock this evening intense excitement was caused by two deliberate attempts to rekindle the fire. Some one placed a bundle of rags, saturated with coal-oil, at the back door or the Gresh House, a wooden hotel, and the only remaining one in town, and when discovered it had already set fire to the house. Another attempt was made to fire the old Catawissa depot, in the southern part of the town. As soon as these discoveries were made, the people were in a frenzy. A reward of $600 was offered immediately for the apprehension of the incendiaries. Much confusion ensued, the people seeming to become wild from fear and excitement, and many whose property was saved yesterday packed up their goods again, prepared for flight in case of another outbreak of the flames.
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