Erie, PA Barrel Factory Fire, Aug 1866

Birth, Marriage & Death Records

Fire In Erie.

From Our Own Correspondent.

ERIE, August 6, 1866. On Monday afternoon, about four o'clock, a fire broke out in Sterritt & Degmier's barrel factory, on the equal, which for a time threatened to be very destructive, but through the almost superhuman efforts of the firemen, and the people acting to preserve their own property, it was checked---not, however, until the four buildings employed for factory purposes had been entirely destroyed.

The hand-engines were first on the ground, and were worked as well as such engines could be worked, but when the "steamer" once got at work the superiority of its never-tiring energies over hand labor was too evident to admit of a comparison.

With proper constructed steam fire-engines and plenty of water, with promptness and energy in those who "run with the machine," fires under ordinary circumstances would not be so destructive as at the present time.

In this instance the gas works were in the most imminent danger, and had not that been saved by the steamer half the city might have been burned. As it was the burning cinders set fire to several buildings on Seventh street, but these were promptly extinguished by the occupants or those in the vicinity. At one time the Methodist Church, I. C. Burgess' house, Rev. Mr. Caine's and Mr. Tracy's house and barn were on fire, but were extinguished before much damage had been done.

Sterritt & Deguire's loss on stock and machinery, from $17,000 to $18,000---partly insured.

The buildings were owned by Joseph McCarter, also partly insured. Loss from $3,000 to $5,000.

The fire originated from the heaters, and but for want of a little presence of mind on the part of the only individual at work in the factory at the time it broke out, the conflagration might have been prevented. Mr. Sterritt informed me that two buckets full of water were at his hand and casks also full, within reach, and yet, in his anxiety for his personal safety, instead of using the water, he left the building to its certain destruction. In his case "self preservation was the prime necessity." Yours, FEDERAL HILL.

Titusville Morning Herald, Titusville, PA 8 Aug 1866