Verde Heritage -- 1914: JEROME FIRE, June 29

"FIRE FOLLOWS THREATENING LETTERS."

"With Monday night's fire and the peculiar circumstances attending same it seems that beyond a doubt that some one either has a vengeance against several property owners or enjoys seeing the efficient fire companies of Jerome turn out at night time."

"Mr. Rotherwell, owner of the building that was almost destroyed had several days previous received 2 letters threatening him with a fire. Instead of turning these valuable notes over to the police, Mr. Rotherwell burned them up with no public comments whatever."

"Prof. Lichtenstein seemed aware of approaching danger and upon his departure for Prescott installed extra lighting and asked the proprietors of the Candy Shop to watch very carefully as the place had been threatened to be burned."

"At 11:15 Monday evening, a flame shot skyward illuminating the surroundings so brilliantly that the reflection was seen all over the town and within a few minutes not only were the firemen handling the dangerous situation but the streets were crowded with spectators in all sorts of garb. The blaze was checked in opportune time for had there been a high wind there is no doubt that the whole building would have been destroyed."

"Investigation showed that the fire started on the outside of the building as the interior was not even scorched. The nature of the flame, its sudden appearance and its easy checking prove that oil must have been used. The proprietors had no such material in the building and had likewise been very careful not to smoke while working. The place had just been closed and the new tenants had been gone but 10 minutes when the fire alarm sounded."

"A new fire apparatus, just installed in the telephone office by District Manager Buchler proved its value in extinguishing a flame started in the Meyer Apartments and saving their household furnishings. The blaze caught just below their window and in a short time the curtain was aflame and the mattress had started to burn. Mr. Meyers ran for the chemical tank and stopped further damage."

"At a preliminary hearing held before Judge Dennison, John Cameron, accused of being the direct cause of Jerome's latest fire, was acquitted of the charge at once. The witnesses summoned were C. Risinger, R. Miller, T. Miller and D. J. Darlington."

"Cameron stated to the best of his knowledge and belief he did not spend any part of the evening on which the fire occurred in the vicinity of the building destroyed, except to pass by on his way to a hut on the Hull's road, where he spent the night."

"He had been employed at the A. & A. mine until hurt by the cage in the 1400 level. He had been discharged from the hospital the early part of the week and had been drunk most of the time. On the particular day of the fire he had slept behind Sullivan and Harrington's, waked up at dusk and went to a hut where he slept till taken into custody."

"He claims that he did not go near the Miller and Darlington establishment only to pass by without stopping."

"The stories of several witnesses agreed in that Cameron had slept in front of the store the 2 previous nights, that both times he had been drunk, that he had struck matches to locate himself, that he had been told to be careful, and that they had not taken any action till the night of the fire when they noticed him to be in a worse condition. He had started to pass the building, hesitated, then turned and went down the steps. T. Miller set out at once for an officer, but had not been gone 2 minutes till the alarm of the fire sounded. D. J. Darlington, a witness, testified that he saw Cameron emerge from the building a minute after going down and hurrying away with a fast walk. The fire started immediately."

"Cameron was charged with arson, which is willful and malicious burning of a building with intent to destroy. Nothing showed that any of the parties concerned had had any heated arguments or words with Cameron, and that he had never at any time seemed to be in a disagreeable mood. With this evidence at hand the Judge cleared the accused of the charge."

"Testimony brought out that the fire did not start in front of the Fountain saloon but beneath the walk on the Miller & Darlington store."

(Jerome News; Friday, July 3, 1914; page 1.)

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