Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Disastrous Conflagration!
Full Text
Disastrous Conflagration!
Destruction of the 'Union Elevator with some 40,000 Bushels of Wheat - Loss of $127,000

At about half past ten o'clock last night, fire was discovered in the second story of the “Union Elevator” east end of the iron bridge, and almost immediately, the entire structure was in flames.

As the window were burned and melted, a current of air rushed into the burning building, which caused a report as though there had been an explosion of gunpowder, and so great was this explosion, if so it can be termed as to absolutely raise the roof, giving rise to the rumor, which prevailed for a time, that there was something of an extra-explosive character in the building.

The streets that had been thronged all day, and evening until after the pyrotechnic display in the west Park, again became alive upon the alarm—all seeming to remember, and dread Oswego's experience on July 5th 1853. The building, owned one-half by F. C. Carrington,. Esq, and one-half by Messrs Failing, Rundell and D. G. Fort, was valued at $70,000. Insured for $42,000 There was 40,000 bushels of grain in store, mostly choice white Canada wheat, the value of which was $57,000-fully insured. The “Lake Ontario Mill,” only some 66 feet from the burning building, seemed at one time to be in great peril, as the wind was about due south, but owing to the fire-proof character of the mill as well as the untiring efforts of the firemen, that valuable property escaped. If the "Lake Ontario” had seriously caught fire, there is no estimating the damage that might have followed. As before stated, the firemen performed their duties nobly, and their efforts were materially aided by the various force pumps in the line of the mills and elevators.

The cause of the fire is unknown; no work had been performed there during the day and quite a number of people were in the elevator building, as late as 6 p.m. using its windows for observation during the boat and tub race.

Possibly some one of the number may have thrown a lighted cigar, or a partially burned out match upon some dry substance, little imaging what devastation could follow. This though can be no more than a supposition.

Item Type
Date of Publication
5 Jun 1870
Personal Name(s)
Carrington, F. C. ; Failing ; Rundell ; Fort, D. G.
Corporate Name(s)
Union Elevator ; Lake Ontario Mill
Richard Palmer
Language of Item
Geographic Coverage
  • New York, United States
    Latitude: 43.4576552560324 Longitude: -76.5089550476074
Copyright Statement
Copyright status unknown. Responsibility for determining the copyright status and any use rests exclusively with the user.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Disastrous Conflagration!