Disastrous Fire at Bakerton. The thriving town of Bakerton was the scene of another disastrous fire last Friday night, when the big store of Preston S. Millard was utterly consumed by the flames. Mr. Millard, who carried a very large stock of goods with which to supply the continuously heavy business of the workmen employed at the plant of the Washington Building Lime Company, occupied a large frame building belonging to the company. He was paymaster for the concern and was also postmaster for Bakerton. Last Friday night the store was closed about 8 o’clock, and when Mr. Millard and the clerks left, everything seemed to be all right. Martin Welsh, who clerks in the store, had home home in the second story of the building. Between one and two o’clock Mrs. Welsh was awakened by smoke and the crackling of flames, and when she sprang out of bed the floor was so hot it burned her feet. She and Mr. Welsh found themselves in such imminent that they barely had time to grab up a few articles of clothing and make their way down stairs — in fact, the floor fell within ten minutes of the time they first discovered the fire. When Mr. Welsh opened one of the doors of the store with the intention of trying to save some of the stock he found the whole interior ablaze, and it was impossible to enter. He gave the alarm, and soon men from the lime works and other persons assembled, but nothing could be done to save either the building or the goods. The night was so foggy that men working at the lime plant a few yards away had not noticed the fire, and it had gained too much headway to be extinguished. There was nothing to do but watch it burn, and protect other property in the neighborhood. Superintendent D. R. Houser had men placed on the roofs of the buildings of the lime works that were near the burning store, and the bucket brigade saved these structures, through the heat was intense.There perhaps was never a more total loss than that of the store building and its contents. THe building, being an old and dry affair, burned fiercely, and was utterly consumed. The contents of the store, general merchandise of every description, all went up in smoke together — dry goods and notions, boots and shoes, groceries and provisions, Christmas toys and candies, etc. Mr. Millard had an unusually large stock on hand, as he had gotten in a full supply of merchandise for the fall and winter trade and goods for the holiday business. He probably had $15,000 worth of merchandise in the place, and not a single article was saved. The only thing that was not burned, by some curious chance, was a tank of coaloil in the cellar. The iron safe in the store proved to be really fireproof. Fortunately he had placed in it his cash and his account books, as well as the stamps and the postoffice funds, and when the safe was opened everything was found intact, though a bit scorched from the intense heat. Mr. Millard had an insurance of $10 – 500 on his stock of merchandise and Martin Welsh had $500 on his household goods, all placed with the Washington, Alexander & Cooke, of Charles Town. The building was also insured, being covered by the policies held by the Washington Building Lime Company. Mr. Millard will probably get into business again without delay, in temporary quarters. He had some goods in ware-rooms apart from the store, and he will stock up afresh and resume operations as soon as possible. He has been in business in Bakerton for 23 years, and possesses the full confidence of the people of the community with whom he has been associated. His friends in the county regret to hear of his loss, but hope that he will soon be re-established more comfortably than ever. It is said that the Washington Building Lime Company will erect a large and substantial building as a new home for the store.
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