Providence, RI Fire, Sept 1877




Special Dispatch to the New-York Times.

PROVIDENCE, R. I., Sept. 27.---One of the most disastrous fires which has visited this city for many years occurred to-night, beginning early in the evening, and the people have been in a state of great alarm and excitement, the fire spreading with startling rapidity from the moment of its discovery. It was, too, in the best portion of the business part of the city, and attacked some of the most substantial and attractive structures of the modern styles, and which were supposed to be, many of them, almost , if not quite, fire-proof. The fire broke out in the second story of Jencke's & Brother's paper-box shop in Weybossett-street, in the immediate vicinity of the Custom-house, and so fiercely did it burn and spread that three alarms, calling out the entire department, were sounded. Within an hour so serious did the aspect become that Mayor Doyle telegraphed to the surrounding towns and cities even as far as distant as Boston, for aid. The fire started in a wholesale liquor store on the lower floor of the Jenckes building. This building, known as the Wightman, was soon enveloped in flames, and from it they spread to the new Wilcox building. The buildings next to the Post Office, occupied in part by the Evening Press and Morning Star, next caught fire. The rear walls of the building fell in at 8:30, and it is reported that two or three persons were killed. The flames caught the buildings, but at 9:30, thanks to the aid of outside fire engines, their onward march was checked, and the work of smothering began. During the height of the fire, and when every effort was meaning to preserve property, thieves appeared, and the Mayor promptly called out Company A, First Light Infantry, to act as patrol and to aid the Police.

The loss by the fire is estimated at about $600,000, and several persons are now busy preparing a table of losses and insurance. The character of the buildings destroyed is a matter of general comment. The first building, the Wightman, was of iron and pressed brick, four stories high, but surmounted by the treacherous French roof. Waldron & Wightman, who occupied the two lower floors, were regarded as the heaviest wholesale grocers in the city. The Daniels building, next destroyed, was also of iron and brick, and was considered absolutely fire-proof. It was nearly new and was frequently pointed out to visitors as the handsomest in the city. It was occupied on the first floor by N. D. Jones & Sons, wholesale boot and shoe dealers, and Daniels & Cornell, wholesale grocers, and the second, third and fourth floors were used as offices or storerooms. The walls of the Rose building were of brick and iron, and were of a uniform thickness of 30 inches, and this building only succumbed because of the intense heat. It was occupied in the basement as the office of European and coasting steamers, and by P. Burcker as an extensive beer and lunch room; on the first floor, by Jesse P. Eddy & Son, wholesale liquor dealers, and by Barden & Keep wholesale dealers in flour, cheese and butter; on the second floor by lawyers and insurance brokers, and the upper floors as lodge rooms &c. The Vaughn Building was another substantial structure. It was occupied by flour and butter dealers, and offices for chemical works, woolen manufacturers and brokers.

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