News: The Clark Republican and Press 11-11-1886
Contact:  Vickie

----Source: The Clark Republican and Press Date: 11-11-1886

COLBY CATCHES IT: Between twelve and one o’clock Tuesday night, fire was discovered in Brehm’s hotel barn. Alarm was given and in a few moments crowds of people were on the ground but despite all efforts the fire soon communicated with Brehm’s hotel, Firnstahl’s shoe shop and Brehm’s store, the three catching almost simultaneously. Then began a desperate fight to save the Colby House which stood within forty feet of Brehm’s hotel to the south and protected the balance of the street in that direction. The little engine was stationed on the walk in front the Colby house and hose run out so a stream of water was kept pouring on the north side of the house; this, with some blankets, undoubtedly saved the balance of the street. In the meantime a crew were hard at work on the depot, also at Woodbury’s and at Walbridge’s good work was being done. At each place the fire was held in check and confined to that square. The buildings burned were Brehm’s hotel, barn, store, bowling alley and ice house, Frank Firnstahl’s shoe shop, Driese’s saloon, residence and cigar manufactory, barn and ice house, barn of Levi Woodbury, barn of G. J. Walbridge and hand car house of the W. C. company. The contents of Brehn’s hotel were mostly removed, but so rapid was the progress of the flames that little or nothing was saved from the other buildings. Firnstahl lost the most of his stock and tools, the stock in Brehm’s store was a total loss, as was, also, the entire records of the town. Henry Schildhauer, who lived over the store, lost everything but a few light articles such as they could catch up in a hurry, C. A. Drieso lost his entire stock of liquors, household effects and 16,000 cigars besides his unmanufactured stock. Losses, as near as we have been able to learn and estimate, are, Brehm, on buildings and stock, between $8,000 and $9,000. Insurance about $2,000, Firnstahl, loss, $500, no insurance. Schildhauer, loss about $1,000, no insurance. C. A. Driese, loss about #+$3,000, insurance $800. Woodbury, loss $300, no insurance. Walbridge, loss $300, insurance on barn $125, on contents, a portion of which were saved, $95. W. C. railroad company, loss on hand car house, nominal. More or less stuff was damaged from handling. When one stops to think over, quietly, the incidents of the fire it seems almost miraculous that the fire was held in check where it was. The depot was on fire several times, and the building of Andrew Flaig was twice on fire. As to the origin of the fire there are a dozen different theories some claiming it to have been incendiary, others believing it to have come from a log heap burning directly west of the barn, about a block and a half away while others, still think it may have originated from a spark from a pipe or a cigar stub. It is our opinion that the origin will remain a mystery. Among the other losses were eight horses belonging to guests of the house and belonged to Herman Mihike, Fred Awe, Peter Robinson and Jos. Romag, also the tool chests and tools of Phillip Henkel, Jos. Leichtnam and John Riplinger.

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