Fond du Lac, WI Fire Ravages City, Sep 1908

Fighting The Blaze Remains of Grant School Fond Du Lac WIS Grant School Fire 1908.jpg




Originating at the Garage of the Crescent Automobile Company It Spreads Rapidly to Adjoining Structures -- Several Churches Are Ruined -- Lieutenant Governor W. D. Connor's Automobile Believed to Have Started the Trouble -- Detailed Story of Blaze.

Fond du Lac Fire Loss.
St. Joseph's Church -- $70,000.
Congregational Church -- $55,000.
St. Peter's Church -- $10,000.
Crescent building -- $10,000.
Grant school damage -- $10,000.
Father Taugher's damage -- $6,000.
Residence rear of Congregational Church -- $4,000.
Crescent Auto & Mach. Co. -- $8,000.
Automobiles destroyed -- $20,000.
T. F. Mayham residence -- $12,000.

Total -- $205,000.

(Special to The Northwestern.)
Fond du Lac, Wis., Sept. 26. -- The destruction by fire of three of the principal churches, an automobile garage and seven automobiles, the residence of the late ex-Mayor Mayham and a large number of roof fires entailed a loss early today estimated at $205,000, partially covered by insurance.
The fire is said to have started from an explosion of gasoline in the Crescent Garage. That building with its valuable contents was soon licked up and with the aid of a high wind the flames soon communicated to the church properties in that vicinity. Fire brands from the burning churches were blown over an area of ten blocks square, starting fires to roofs of many residences.
Every resident in the fire zone was up and after many had removed their valuables to places of safety, they set to work extinguishing fires which had started from the fire brands.
Assistance was called from Oshkosh and Milwaukee when it was thought the city was threatened with destruction. Oshkosh sent a supply of apparatus on a special train, but the Milwaukee order was cancelled when it was believed the fire could be controlled without additional aid.
Employes of the Rueping Leather company rendered valuable service in checking the flames by pumping water from an artesian well through long lines of hose.

The Story.
The most appalling fire in the history of Fond du Lac city broke out in the Crescent Auto & Machine company's garage between 11 and 12 o'clock Friday night, and within three hours a loss of approximately a quarter of a million dollars was incurred.
Swept by a strong gale of wind the fire for a time threatened to destroy the entire east side of the city.
A veritable shower of sparks and burning brands were swept over the entire east side by the wind and set fire to residences and all structures in its path.
Immense brands were carried from the Crescent garage to the roof of St. Joseph's church and the residence of DR. T. F. MAYHAM at the rear of the garage. Within ten minutes the church and the residence had caught fire.
Grant school was next in the path of the fire fiend which suddenly assumed a southward course. This school, which was erected only a short time ago at a cost of $12,000 was practically destroyed by the fire.
Within a few minutes the sparks which resembled immense fire flies oon account of the number, had set fire to the steeple of St. Peter's Lutheran church and for a time it was feared that this edifice was doomed. Heroic work on the part of the volunteer firemen saved this church although the steeple was destroyed.
The residence of REV. M. J. TAUGHER, which adjoins St. Joseph's church and the residence of DR. L. A. BISHOP and his office were threatened with destruction for a time, but were not entirely destroyed, though badly damaged.
Suddenly a cry of alarm was heard and then it was seen that the First Congregational church at Sheboygan and Marr streets, nearly two blocks distant from the place where the fire started, was ablaze. This structure was gutted by fire.
For a time it was feared that the First Presbyterian church would also be destroyed by the fire fiend, but the small blazes that started on the roof at different times were easily extinguished.
The entire residence district east of Marr street was threatened with destruction for several hours. The sparks fell on the roofs of the houses and men were compelled to remain on the roofs and pour water on them constantly.
The fire alarm was received at 10:40 o'clock at the No. 1 station and within two seconds the company was on the scene. A line of hose was laid and carried to the rear of the Crescent garage, where the smoke seemed the thickest.
For a time the entire vicinity was filled with smoke and then suddenly the flames reached the gasoline that was stored in the front part of the garage and then the flames burst through the roof and sides of the building.
Within ten seconds the MAYHAM residence, St. Joseph's church and the Grant school were ablaze and their total destruction was only a matter of a short time.
By this time there were two lines of hose in the rear of the garage and one pouring in water from the front. A stream that had been carried to the side of the garage was hastily swept onto the roof of St. Joseph's church, but it was too late and within a few moments it became evident that the church, which is one of the oldest edifices in the city was doomed for destruction.
In the meantime willing hands had been carrying out the furnishings at the residence of the late DR. T. F. MAYHAM. The volunteers were forced to desist, however, by an immense sheet of flame which swept across from the garage to the residence and within a moment the house was gutted by fire.

Oshkosh Daily Northwestern Wisconsin 1908-09-26