Minneapolis, MN Sawmill Fire Sept 1897
REDUCED TO ASHES
The J. W. Day & Co. Sawmill Is Totally Wiped Out by Fire.
LOSS $75,000...INSURANCE $40,000
Some 250 Men Are Thrown Out of Employment by the Disaster.
The J. W. Day & Co. sawmill, at Twenty-fourth avenue N and the river, was burned to the ground at an early hour this morning, and a total loss of $75,000 was sustained. The loss is partially covered by insurance for $40,000. The origin of the fire is unknown.
Shortly after 2 o'clock, Carpentr John Peruse happened to go into the southwest corner of the mill. He saw near one of the slashing wheels a flame shoot up several feet. Before he had time to move a dozen feet, it seemed as though the entire end of the building was wrapped in flames. He hurried to the engine room, where the watchman was, and the two went back, but by that time the fire was sweeping on with fearful strides. They turned in an alarm at once, and in a few minutes the department was on the scene. This was at 2:16. As soon as the chief arrived, he realized that more apparatus would be used, and a second alarm was turned in, and at 2:22 the third was rung, and most of the department answered it.
It was soon evident that it would be impossible to save the plant, and every effort was bent toward saving the huge pile of lumber in the yard, and the Northern Pacific bridge, which spane the river just north of the mills. The burning building was surrounded by engines and a dozen streams of water were turned upon it. There seemed to be no abatement to the fury of the flames inside of the building, and each little puff of wind would send volumes of sparks into the air, threatening the surrounding property. Three engines drew water from the river and protected the bridge, while all along Twenty-fourth avenue N engines pumped deluges of water.
About two hours after the fire was discovered the department realized that although the plant would be totally destroyed, the fire would be confined to it. Had a southwest wind been blowing briskly, over 250,000,000 feet of lumber would have been in danger, and the city would have seen a fire unprecedented. It was not until 9:20 this morning that the fire was entirely extinquished, and the last piece of apparatus left the property.
This morning the entire mill is level with the ground, and every piece of machinery is destroyed entirely. There will be no salvage. The Days estimate their loss at $75,000, and above this will be the loss in time, This is the busiest season of the year, and they were working the mill steadily. Every day 180,000 feet of lumber was handled, and employment was given to 250 men. The mill people have not as yet decided what their plans for the future will be, but it is probable that they will rebuild.
The mill was built about twelve years ago and was the largest and best equipped in the city at the time. The mill is one of the most successful and the loss to their business will be heavy. It is located right in the heart of the milling district and this morning all mill men are congratulating themselves that there was a very light wind blowing.
During the fire a Soo freight train came along the tracks just west of the mill and cut four lines of hose which were stretched across the tracks and this for a time materially crippled the work of the department. With this exception, however, the fire was fought in a way which is greatly to the credit of the department.
The Minneapolis Journal, Minneapolis, MN 22 Sept 1897