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Mail Tribune 100, Jan. 3, 1921

The following news items were drawn from the archives of the Mail Tribune 100 years ago.

Jan. 3, 1921


Basement Blaze in Office Building Gives Firemen a Stubborn Fight — Handicapped by Lack of Equipment — Origin Unknown.

Fire of unknown origin which started in the basement of the H. C. Garnett hardware store in the Liberty building, and which was only discovered at 7:30 o’clock p.m. Sunday apparently after having smoldered for hours, practically gutted the rear of the hardware store, damaged the rear part of Geo. L. Treichler Motor company sales room next door on the same floor, crawled up to the second floor, and filled the offices and halls thruout the four story brick structure with smoke.

The total loss is estimated at not less than $25,000, fully covered by insurance.

The fire because of the location in the business district caused much excitement and apprehension for an hour or so after it was discovered. Nevertheless it was one of the least spectacular fires in the city’s history because of its smoldering nature, the flames being smothered in smoke. There were hundreds of spectators at the fire.

The fire resulted in the building’s heating plant being knocked out, at least temporarily, and the burning through of a main cable of the telephone company which knocked out about 100 phones in the business district until this forenoon when the service was restored. It did no damage to the electric light service, but the power company shut off the lights of the Liberty building after the fire was discovered.

The elevator service of the building was also temporarily knocked out, but was in partial operation again late this forenoon.

H. C. Garnett carried a stock valued at $15,000, which was fully insured. The majority of this stock was damaged by fire, heat, water and smoke, and considerable of it totally destroyed.

The loss on the Liberty building is estimated at about $10,000 to $15,000. Dr. Henry Hart, agent of the building today was unable to say just what he deemed the loss, but said that the building was fully insured.

The plate glass windows of the Garnett store were broken in by the firemen and assistants in order to give the smoldering fire more air, in encouraging it to break out so that it could be located and fought.

— Alissa Corman;acorman@rosebudmedia.com

News from 100 years ago