FIRES (excerpt)

A Serious Blaze in P.A. Billings’ Mantel Store Yesterday Morning—Other Fires

The store of P.A. Billings, dealer in mantels and grates at No. 176 Woodward avenue, was discovered on fire about 6 o’clock yesterday morning. The flames originated in the cellar and rapidly shot upwards through a hatchway in the rear. An alarm brought out the Fire Department in short order, and the building was flooded with water. Smoke issues from every window in the different stories, which made it difficult to at first to locate the fire. The flames were speedily extinguished, but not before the contents of the building had been soaked, which caused most of the damage. How the fire caught is a matter of conjecture, different theories being advanced. It is, however, believed to have been caused by a gas explosion. The mantels in the cellar and the stock in the show rooms on the upper floors sustained serious damage. On the fourth floor was a quantity of stock belonging to Mills & Barker, furniture dealers, but it escaped injury. Mr. Billings’ loss is thought to be over $8,000; covered by insurance. The building is owned by Alanson Shelley and was damaged about $700, which is protected by insurance. The store of Jacob Weiz, hardware dealers at No. 174 Woodward avenue, was damaged about $250 by water. Lieut. Conklin, of Chemical Engine No. 1, had his right foot cut by glass while breaking in the front door of Billings’ store.

Source: Detroit Free Press, October 17, 1884.

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