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The Fire - Seven Persons

Seven Persons - Once Hundred Sixty Acres and a Dream

Chapter 11

The store Mr. McAskile began in 1908 did a business excelling all expectations. With its successes the village grew. Many new places of business sprang up "almost over night". Residences were constructed near the business section, and in the back or the upstairs parts of the stores or offices.

As usual, when one does a task in a hurry one doesn't take the precautions one should, and certainly there was little fire protection considered in those days. One Sunday night in the spring of 1917 the citizens were awakened to the cry of:

"Fire! Fire! The store is on fire!" "Get water! Hurry! Hurry!" "Find an axe! Get some pails!"

Despite man's efforts to control fires, this one burned on, uncontrolled, for some time, until building after building was consumed In fact every structure of the main block on Main Street was burned away. Several cars were burned, too.

Mr. Calder, whose store was in the next block, was happy that the fire didn't destroy his buildings. He kept saying, "The Lord be blessed. I prayed all through the night and my roof wasn't even scorched."

Johnnie Meyer remarked, "If we hadn't kept a bucket brigade going most of the night your roof wouldn't have been saved either."

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Mary Tollestrup