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$7,000,000 FIRE IN SEATTLE
From the Coast Review Extra, June 7, 1889.

The business part of Seattle, W. T., was totally destroyed by fire in the afternoon of Thursday, June 6. The Coast Review estimates the property loss at $7,000,000, and the insurance loss at about $2,250,000. Other estimates of the property loss vary from $10,000,000 to $15,000,000.

Thirty-one blocks or squares, or nearly all thereof, were completely wiped out of existence within a few hours. The corrugated iron warehouses burned like the frames, and the draught was so fierce as to carry pieces of the iron high into the air.

The total insurance loss of the legitimate insurance companies was $1,971,900, of which sum the California companies lost $283,000, the Oregon companies $60,000, the foreign companies $838,400, and the Eastern companies $790,500. There was, besides, about $150,000 carried by Washington, Dakota, Iowa and other wildcats, very little or not a dollar of which will ever be paid.

Seattle is situated on Puget Sound in Washington Territory. It has a population of about 20,000, and is the largest town in the territory. It has been very prosperous in the past few years.

Seattle, like all new towns, and like nearly all Coast cities, is a frame city. There were a number of bricks. They were of a superior character, but they were consumed in the fierce heat and gale of the flames almost as quickly as the frailest frames. The building material in the burned district was Washington pine, not California redwood.

The fire department has been regarded as fairly good. It is a volunteer department, with 200 men, two Gould steam fire engines and other apparatus, and a water supply adequate for even extraordinary fires. Frame building fires have been handled with praiseworthy skill, and restricted to narrow limits. But in the presence of this great conflagration the Seattle fire department, like that of larger cities, was powerless.

[Fireman's Fund Archives: 4-1-2-4-30; 0718.]


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