Fourteen Thousand Dollar Fire. Burns Big Corner Block.
Gallant Work by Firemen. Will Rebuild at Once.
The old land mark known as the Ellis block and owned by Oliver E. Vars, standing on the corner of Main and Greenwood streets went up in smoke early Wednesday morning entailing a damage upon it’s occupants of many thousands of dollars.
The fire started from the Odd Fellows hall on the third floor, where a large number of the fellows met the evening previous and enjoyed work in the second degree, a lunch and a “smoke”. It is probable that the later will be attributed the cause of the fire. Someone accidentally placed a snipe (cigar butt) in some place where it ignited surrounding inflammable materials. The Odd Fellows had left the hall shortly before one o’clock. At 3 the family of Dr. William H. Laughhead who lived and had his office on the floor below, were aroused from sound sleep by something falling above them, like an explosion. The doctor rushed to the back door and was met with a gust of smoke in his face. Closing the door another explosion was heard that shook the building and immediately the rooms above them were in flames.
Rushing into the street partially clad, the doctor sounded the alarm of fire (not the fire alarm, as Andover has nothing in that line, save dinner and church bells). The volunteer fire department arrived quicker than would be supposed possible from the means at hand with which to arouse them from sleep and in less time than has been made by better equipped fire fighting organizations in the neighboring villages.
When the fire department arrived it was thought at first that the fire could be stopped immediately and three heroic firemen went up into the burning lodge rooms and played the hose until the water that came back from the walls became so hot that it burned their feet, which, together with the smoke, made it impossible to stay long. It became evident immediately after they come down that no amount of water would quench the fire in the building as the entire third floor was enveloped in flames and the firemen gave their attention to the protection of adjoining property which they accomplished after one of the most heroic efforts ever made by a fire fighting organization.
The building was occupied by Brundage & Rogers, druggist; Raymond & Miller, millinery and lady’s furnishings, and Floyd C. Vars, jewelry, on the first or ground floor. The second floor, by Dr. William H. Loughhead’s office and family. The third by the Odd Fellow’s fraternity.
To place the value of the burned structure as $7,000 is making it low. It was owned by Oliver E. Vars and insured for $3,000.
Brundage & Rogers carried a $4,000 stock of Drugs, paints etc, insured for $2,000. Raymond & Miller, millinery goods and lady’s furnishings, and household goods in the rear, had $1,500 worth of property with $650 insurance. Floyd C. Vars estimates his stock at $3,000 with $600 insurance, but as a greater part of his goods were saved he estimates his loss over and above the $600 insurance at $400.
Dr. William H. Loughhead had but $500 insurance on $800 worth of household goods and office equipment including his library.
The Odd Fellow fraternity had at least one thousand dollars worth of robes, organ, piano and paraphernalia with $400 insurance, also all their records and charter.
The Rebekah’s property cost them at least $200 with $100 insurance besides the value of robes and charter.
The Woodmen, who use the Odd Fellows hall, lost everything they owned amounting to $50, besides charter and very valuable records.
The Western New York & Pennsylvania Telephone Co. (Bell) lost about $150, their central being located in Brundage & Rogers Drug store.
The Ellis block was a three story building of wooden structure built forty years ago (1867) this spring, pine lumber being mostly used in its construction. It extended from Greenwood St. to the Atwood Hardware building on Main St., there being but about an inch space between the two buildings. In the rear were the old frame Prest Opera House with shingled roof, one story ice house and the one story building occupied by Mr. Peterson as a barber shop, all wooden buildings, and the work of the Citizens Hose Company of Andover in confining the fire to but the one building with the other wooden structures separating it with but a narrow drove way has been and should be praised by all. Their work Wednesday will make that of many paid fire departments look like thirty cents half spent.
Brundage & Rogers have made arrangements to open for business in the Van Sickle store formerly occupied by Dr. Smith.
Raymond & Miller have rented the Imperial Hotel and will make use of it.
Floyd C. Vars has found quarters in the Prest Opera House Block, in the laundry.
Dr. Loughhead has opened an office over the Andover State Bank.
The fraternities made homeless have not yet found a place to shelter.
Will Rebuild with Cement Blocks or Brick:
Mr. Vars is already making arrangements to rebuild. He will erect either a solid brick or concrete block structure and is already making the plans and specifications.