Minneapolis, MN security warehouse fire, Jul 1890



MINNEAPOLIS, July 15. - The large seven-story warehouse of the Security Warehouse Company on First Street and Fourth Avenue North, ovwned by Wood & Morse, was entirely destroyed by fire, together with its contents, this afternoon, entailing a loss of nearly a million dollars. The fire caught upon the second floor of the building, and is supposed to have been caused by spontaneous combustion. It soon spread to the upper floors, which were filled with agricultural implements, while on the fourth floor were 500 tons of binding twine, which added fuel to the flames.

As soon as possible the firemen got to work, but were hampered by the intense heat. It was impossible for one to approach whithin 500 feet of the burning building unless his face was protected. Two men, W. W. Morse, one of the proprietors, and the engineer, were rescued by means of ladders from the fourth floor. They were almost blinded and suffocated by the dense smoke, which overhung everything, making it impossible to distinguish anything at a distance of ten feet.

On the south side was the large storehouse of the John Deere Company, which was saved by the heroic work of the firemen, although at one time it seemed as if the building was doomed to be crushed by the falling wires. Just at the rear stood the Chicago, Saint Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha Railroad roundhouse, in which six engines stood in stalls. They were quickly removed, as it was feared that the house would be crushed by the walls, but happily this was not the case.

Upon the north stood a three-story stone building owned by Matt Kees and occupied as a dwelling house by a number of Jewish families. This was crushed flat, as was a one-story frame building used as a snipping room, in which was stored a quantity of machinery.

The burned warehouse was erected in April of this year, and was used as a storage and transfer warehouse, and was one of the largest establishments of its kind in Minneapolis. It cost about $50,000 and was insured for $35,000. Its proprietors say they will rebuild at once.

The first floor was occupied as a shipping room, the second by offices, the third by the William Deering Company, the fourth by the Appleton Manufacturing Company, the fifth and sixth by general storage, and the seventh by furniture.

The losses are as follows: National Cordage Company, binding twine, $235,000, insured; William Deering & Co. of Chicago, $125,000; Emerson, Talcott & Co., Rockford, Ill., $25,000; Grand Detour Plow Company, Dixon, Ill., $25,000; American Road Machine Company, Philadelphia, $10,000; Appleton Manufacturing Company, Appleton, Wis., $35,000; O. S. Kelly & Co., Springfield, Ohio, $10,000; L. Waterbury & Co., New-York, $100,000; Wood & Morse, $50,000; miscellaneous loss, at least $200,000.

In adition to these amounts are the losses of individuals who had furniture stored. There was a large quantity of silverware burned. All the insurance save that on the building was held outside the city, and consequently the names of the companies and amounts cannot be learned here at this time.

The New York Times, New York, NY 16 Jul 1890