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Haverhill, MA City Fire, Feb 1882

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Boston, Feb. 18. -- Eighty-two shoe and leather firms, representing at least $2,500,000, are wiped out by the fire in Haverhill this morning. More than 2,000 people are thrown out of work, and the indirect loss amounts to at least $500,000 more. Haverhill is thirty-two miles north of Boston, and has an annual shoe business of over $10,000,000, and there are also woolen goods and hat factories.

The fire was confined to the shoe quarters. It was discovered a few minutes before midnight, in a store on Washington Street occupied by E. P. WENTWORTH, a sole-leather dealer.

The cause assigned is the bursting of an overheated stove. An alarm was sounded at once, and steamer No. 2 promptly responded. A heavy stream was put on in something less than eight minutes. The fire was at first thought to be only a slight one, and Chief West says it would have been, but for the bursting of steamer No. 2's hose.

The delay thus occasioned was most unfortunate. Two minutes later a sheet of flame seemed to wrap the entire building, and the firemen realized that they had an unusually strong enemy to cope with. The night was cold and clear, the wind blowing very strong from the north, and despite every effort of the entire fire department, the flames spread rapidly. The next building was also a wooden building.

In a remarkably short space of time not only ENDICOTT & ARNOLD'S but the adjacent large wooden buildings were wrapped in flames, and the air was full of sparks and flying cinders, blown by the wind. For an hour the fire confined itself to the north side of Washington street where wooden buildings prevailed, and it was hoped that the south side of the street might be saved. Such hopes were fruitless. Pieces of burning wood were blown by the wind in every direction, and at last FINLEY'S block, a brick building on the south side of Washington Street, caught fire.


article | by Dr. Radut