MACK & CO. BIG FIRE
Might Have Swept All of Main Street
What was Monday morning one of the handsome business blocks in the city is today a partial wreck. The Argus yesterday gave a hurried account of the fire in the block occupied by the Mack Furniture Co., on Main and Liberty sts. It was stated that at the time of going to press it was under control. Today, to anyone who saw the flames pouring out of the third story Windows, it is a surprise that the walls are standing and as many goods were saved. The fire was chiefly confined to the third story. What is saved is a testimonial to the good and efficient work of Chief Sipley and his assistants. When they arrived on the ground the fire was confined to the third floor. The heat occasioned by the burning oil, varnishes and furniture was intense, the flames belching out of the north widows, until fears were entertained that the store of Mack & Co. across Liberty st. would also catch afire. It was providential that no wind was blowing. If there had been as much wind as last Saturday, where the fire would have ended cannot be foretold. The great fire of 50 years ago would have been repeated.
There were hundreds of willing hands who carried furniture and cases out of the building. They were dumped on the street and then moved again as the fire worked over to the east side of the building. Only one of the large plate glass windows on the south east end of the building was broken. It was broken for the purpose of removing goods.
The fire started in the upholstering room on the third floor. Here were working Jack McCarrol, Adam Wahl and Will Wiegand. Mr. McCarrol suddenly discovered there was an unusual amount of heat near him, which upon investigation came from a 700-pound bale of cotton battening which had just been received. McCarrol called to Wahl to get the fire extinguishers and both of them fired the glass bottles with the mixture at the bale but with no effect. McCarrol ran down stairs and called up the fire department.
There are two theories about how the cotton started. One is spontaneous combustion. The cotton must have been burning for some time before it was discovered. The other theory is the reflection of the sun through the window. The bale of cotton was close to the window. It would not take very much heat from the focus of the window glass to ignite the cotton threads. If there were any seeds left in the cotton they would be oily, so that with either theory, spontaneous combustion or refraction of the sun only a slight degree of heat was necessary to start the fire.
The list of the insurance, on the stock of the Mack Furniture Co. is as follows:
German, Freeport, 111., $1,000; Detroit F. & M., $1,000; Hanover, N. Y , $1,500; North Britisli Mercantil $1,500; Magedeburg Fire Ins. Co., $1,000; Equitable, Providence, R. L, $1,000; Lancashire, 2,000; Traders, Chicago, $1.000; American, Philadelphia, $1,500; Germania, New York, $5,000; Phoenix, New York, $1,300; Aetna, Hartford, $3,000; Security, New York, $1,500; Imperial, London, $1,000; total, $23,500.
Williain Aprill 's insurance on building: Palatine, $2,000; Williamsburg City, $2,500; Cooper, Dayton, Ohio, $2,500; Girrard, Philadelphia, $1,000; Western Assurance, Toronto, $1,000; Boyal, Liverpool, $3,000; New York Underwriters, $2,000; Concordia, Mil-waukee, $1,000; total, $15,000.