Mon, Feb. 17

Verde Heritage 1914: JEROME FIRE, June 19


"On Friday evening, June 19th at 8:25 p.m. without a moment's warning, flames shot to a height of 100 feet and within 45 minutes the buildings occupied by Miller and Darlington, Gonzales barber shop and the Fountain Saloon were totally destroyed."

"The quick action of Jerome's ideal fire department, a fine water pressure, and the lack of a high wind put the fire under control within an hour and prevented what might have been as destructive a conflagration as when the whole business district of Jerome was wiped out."

"The blame of the fire is laid at the feet of John Cameron, who, it is alleged, has been sleeping under the walk of the Fountain Saloon upon a pile of rubbish which had not been cleaned out on the Clean Up Day May 23. He had been noticed for several nights in this place and on this particular occasion Tom Miller noticed that Cameron was quite drunk. Realizing that there was some danger he set out for an officer. In his absence a man noticed Cameron run down the street at dusk and immediately there was an explosion followed by a raging fire. It is though that Cameron, while in search for a comfortable spot, lighted a match and that the dry rubbish caught fire. Before he was able to handle the situation it was beyond his control so he left post haste with no word to any one. He was taken into custody the next day by Marshall Hawkins."

"Both buildings were old and of frame hence the flames licked up their prey within short order. Miller and Darlington lost stock and equipment to the sum of $2,000 carrying no insurance. The property was owned by Selna and Kovacovich who had permitted their insurance to lapse within a few days. Miller and Darlington has been very successful with a second-hand store and mattress works. Though they lost everything they have undauntedly gone ahead and hope to open another store as soon as another location can be had."

"The Gonzales barber shop was totally destroyed with nothing saved. Several articles were carried out of the other buildings but when daylight came were no where to be found."

"The Fountain Saloon owned by Andrew Issoglio, had just been improved with a $2,500 stock and new bar. A mortgage held by the Brunswick Collender Co. had been lifted the week previous. Small insurance was had. Whiskey and the cash register were saved. Issoglio will start another fountain at once."

"Great credit must be given the prompt appearance of the fire department, their orderly work and efficient handling of the trying situation. Fire Chief Craine was at the Black Canyon at the time on a fishing expedition and in his absence his place was ably filled by Father Rampont, who remained on the job all night until relieved the next morning by Craine, who came home late Friday night."

"Spreading the fire was prevented by the brick building of the Jerome Meat Co. and the Dicus garage. For a while the Grand Central Hotel seemed on the very verge of going up, but its old proverbial luck prevailed and once more that building passed safely through a crisis. Sparks threatened many homes to the east and numerous folks packed their treasures that they might evacuate upon short notice. Others climbed to the roofs and fought off the endangering flames."

"Jerome's fire department consists of some 100 members with 76 actives all of whom were at hand to fight the fire. The Prontos were under the direction of E. H. B .Avery, who showed excellent ability as a leader. Ike Nihel led the Victors with great credit, and Bill Hill with his Miners handled the rear with great satisfaction."

"Special credit must be given Tom Esmond, who handled a nozzle from the Jerome Meat Co. building and though the fire made his surroundings mighty hot he stuck on the job. Arthur McDonald, a young electrician, had the presence of mind to cut the wires at once and remove that dangerous condition from troubling the firemen. A. G. Fletcher directed the telling stream of water that soon put the flames under thorough control and within a short time the fire was practically extinguished. The only man hurt was Denny Shea who was on a tour of inspection at 11 p.m. and was accidently soaked from head to foot with a healthy stream of water turned on without orders."

"The clear sky reflected the scene for many miles and soon anxious telephone calls came from neighboring mining camps and several homes on the Verde."

"The whole street was crowded with 2,000 people who were very orderly. Folks tore out of the Movey which was putting on a special program that evening and the Carnival was forsaken within ten minutes. Nervousness reigned among those who owned property adjacent to the fire as the frame buildings across were soon too warm to touch the wood work."

(Jerome News; Friday, June 26, 1914; page 1.)

See: The Verde Independent; "1914; JEROME FIRE, June 29;" June 30, 2016.

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