This a transcription of an article published in the Warwick Advertiser, dated March 29, 1900. There is some confusion as to the date of the New Milford fire. I run into 1898 and 1900. I can't find any newspaper evidence of a fire in 1898; neither paper has a complete microfilm record for that year. I would guess an article on a fire in 1900 would mention a previous fire two years previous. This article doesn't mention a previous fire. My quess is that people writing about the fire may have got the date wrong.
BIG FIRE AT NEW MILFORD
Nearly Half of the Village Burned to the Ground - No Means of Fighting Fire.
The little village so long called Jockey Hollow, and more recently, New Milford, about a half mile from the station of New Milford, on the L. & H., was nearly destroyed by fire last Thursday. The fire was discovered about noon in the upper part of the store of the postmaster, Benjamin Scott. The room was blazing fiercely at the time and the the flames were soon spreading out to each side for the buildings adjoining.
Mr. Scott discovered the fire from the opposite side of the street, and ran in to put his books, stamps, etc., in the safe, taking the mail pouch and keys out to another house. On returning the fire had broken into the lower room and he was compelled to flee with very few things. His safe proved defective and the stamps, postal cards, etc., were destroyed, and his books so near ruined that but a few pages are legible.
So rapid was the spread of the fire that little was saved from the store or the hotel, kept by James McCann, on the south side, which was separated only by a partition. On the other side of the store was the hotel sheds and barn, which was soon in flames. Next, on the north, came Scott's house and then Mrs. Sloan's house, each of which in turn caught fire and was burned to the ground. The flames also reached across the street, taking another house belonging to Scott's property, filled on one side with hardware and other store goods and occupied by a Mr. Springer's family. To these the fire was continued. The store and postoffice, the hotel, with its barn and sheds, and the three dwellings destroyed, make about one-half of the little village. The Labar hotel, the tannery and blacksmith shop, the little church and the old grist mill, with a few dwellings farther separated, are about all that is left.
The Emil Kunath house, about 75 feet away from the hotel, was saved by careful work, being favored by the wind.
How the fire started is not clearly stated. Some claiming that it came from the store room first, others that it started in the chimney in the hotel, which was joined to it. But as contridicting this, we are told that a Mr. Moore, who roomed in the hotel where the chimney went up. went into his room and saved his clothes after the alarm had been given from the store, and found no fire there.
There was no appartus to put out the fire with, although the stream was close. The firemen from this village, four miles distant, were ready to go as individuals to join the bucket brigade, but had no pumping apparatus.
Scott loses heaviets, and will probably have nothing left, although insured for near $4,500. His real estate was heavily mortaged and had cost him over $3,500.
McCann had contracted for the hotel for three years to cancel a second mortgage claim, which he held. The insurance carried will probably not more than pay the first claim.
Many of the transcriptions found here are now in published form. They have been published by the Orange County Genealogical Society (in Goshen, New York). Volume 3 includes my Volume 3 and Volume 5. Volume 4 includes my four parts of New Milford history. There is a planned Volume 5, which will include my Volumes 6, 7, and 8, Part 1, which is about 250 transcriptions. They can be purchase through the Genealogical Society. Just Google them and print out the order form. Or they can be purchased from the Warwick Historical Society. They are also on sale at the gift shop at Baird's Tavern. I would like to thank the Genealogical Society and Dan Burrows for their efforts.