The FIRE of 1908  |  Masonic Temple

Masonic Temple Building • South Lake Street
[Carnahan Brothers men's clothing store was once here]

    It was 7:30 am Friday, October 16, 1908, that the fire bells rang when a fire was reported in the brick building with a slate roof. Both fire companies responded, finding the inside rear of the building in flames, and immediately applying two hoses to spray the inside of the downstairs. In spite of their efforts, the fire spread upstairs but did not break out the roof. After fighting the fire for an hour, they were able to gain control and extinguish it.

    When the smoke cleared they were able judge that though the insides were gutted, little structural damage had occurred to the building. The horse sheds for the Presbyterian Church had caught fire but were only slightly damaged and the adjacent buildings had been sprayed sufficiently to prevent damage to them.
     Carnahan Brothers reported having $20,000 worth of stock and fixtures in the store but insurance would cover only $6,500 of it. They figured they would be able to sell some of the unburned, smoke-damaged goods but they would still be out $10,000. The loss to the Masonic temple and furniture would amount to $2,000 which was fully covered by insurance. At the time, there were some plumbers at work in the basement, and they had seen smoke.

       They came upstairs and saw a burning board which they removed from the building. They said the board was set on fire by the janitor of the club room who removed ashes from the second floor by lowering them from a window and dumping them on the board which lay over the cellar window. Soon after that, they discovered the fire had spread through the wall into the inside of the building. The Masons denied the dumping of the ashes.

The newspaper added this little editorial comment to the end of their story.
“The Town authorities should compel the businessmen to keep the alleys about town free of all inflammable material. If all debris about town was kept picked up and burned a fire would not get as good a chance to start.”





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