Hampton Beach, NH Fire, Jun 1921


Flames Sweep Six Hotels, Theater, Garage and 20 Houses and Cottages.

HAMPTON BEACH, N. H., June 26. A spectacular fire swept the business and residential section of Hampton Beach early today, burned six hotels, more than a score of cottages, several homes and a theater and caused damage estimated at upwards of $400,000. Sixteen guests in the hotel where the fire originated saved themselves by leaping from the windows to the roof of an adjoining hostelry.

Prompt work by the fire departments of half a dozen surrounding cities and towns prevented the flames from spreading along the entire beach to Big Boar's Head. Despite the rapid progress of the conflagration and the large number of buildings burned, no one was injured.

The flames were discovered at 3:45 o'clock this morning by Mrs. C. P. Mitchell, manager of the Strand Hotel, owned by Goldstein Brothers of Springfield. She was awakened by smoke, and upon going down stairs found the ceiling of the kitchen ablaze. It is believed that the fire started from defective wiring.

Mrs. Mitchell aroused guests in the hotel, but so rapid was the spread of the flames that the occupants of the building were forced to lower themselves from upstairs windows to the ell of the Janvrin Hotel, from which they made their way to the ground.

Flames Jump 75 Foot Lot

Rapidly spreading from the Strand Hotel, the flames jumped across a 75 foot vacant lot and set fire to the Lawrence House.

Realizing that local fire equipment was unable to stop the spread of the fire, hurry calls were sent to neighboring localities for aid.

Starting shortly after 4 o'clock, motor driven apparatus from Portsmouth, Haverhill, Newburyport, Exeter and Amesbury rushed over roads, and by daylight the equipment from these communities had made record-breaking trips from their stations and were
aiding the Hampton department.

Different pieces of apparatus were stationed at vantage points and the firemen, finally concentrating their efforts, checked the onrush of the flames at the Ashworth Hotel, the largest on the beach. Had that hostelry caught fire it is probable that the flames would have wiped out the resort.

Low Water Pressure

Although handicapped somewhat by low water pressure, the firemen fought a heroic battle against the flames and brought them under control at about 10:30 o'clock.

After setting fire to the Lawrence house the flames spread rapidly to the Hotel Antler, built last year; the Hotel Fairview, the Janvrin Hotel and the Hotel Sturgis. From there the fire jumped to a large block, housing the Olympia motion picture house, the Hampton Beach post office and nearly a dozen small stores. The mail in the post office was removed before the flames reached the block.

From the long row of buildings along the front of the beach the flames spread to the rear and destroyed 20 or more cottages and the Olympia Garage, which contained 70 automobiles. The machines were removed to places of safety in the very face of the flames.

After the fire had been checked in the southeasterly direction at the Ashworth hotel, which was destroyed only a short time ago by fire and recently rebuilt, the firemen devoted their efforts to bringing the flames under control in the rear. In the meantime the progress of the conflagration had been stopped at the Hotel Avon, the western extremity of the blaze. The latter hotel is only a short distance from the Casino.

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