May 18, 1914

May 18, 1914

Ray Toft's barn, on Riverside Avenue, between 11th and 12th streets, burned down Sunday night, entailing a loss of $5,000, covered by $3,000 insurance. Within this barn were stored the accumulation of many years of business wreckage, household goods, harnesses, wagons, farm implements, odds and ends of necessities, hay and a recently installed creamery.

When the fire that leaped high into the sky, and made bright as day territory within six blocks of the burning structure, was at its height, a kimona parade took place the like of which had never been witnessed in Southern Oregon before. Scores of women and girls appeared thus attired, with their hair braided down their backs.

The origin of the fire is attributed to two sources, careless tramps and revenge. Toft supports the tramp theory. The revenge supposition is strengthened by the fact that those who reached the fire first noted that the four corners of the barn was ablaze as if a firebug had done his work well. The fire alarm was turned in at 12:30, and 1,000 people gathered to see the blaze.

Scores of sparrows and pigeons died in the flames. The birds were awakened from their night slumbers by the bright blaze, and flew into the vacuum caused by the heat to be destroyed in the flames. Clouds of moths and insects were destroyed in the same manner.

The fire was more spectacular than the day Planning mill blaze last Monday, and was shorter. A half-hour after its start it was finished. The fire department strung 1,100 feet of hose to reach the fire.