Mount Hope Fire

The Messenger (Beckley)
March 25, 1910

Mt. Hope In Ruins

Town Completely Destroyed By Fire Yesterday

But Five Dwellings Remain in What Was Yesterday a Prosperous and Populous Town

The latest report from the town of Mt. Hope, which was literally wiped out of existence yesterday, is that but five dwellings escaped the flames, and that from 2,500 to 3,000 people are homeless and at least temporarily penniless.

With the exceptions noted, nothing but charred and blackened ruins marks the site of what was yesterday morning one of the largest and most prosperous towns in Fayette county.

The property loss is estimated by a well informed insurance man of this city at half a million dollars, of which not more, and probably less than one fourth, is covered by insurance.

To Mr. S. Dixon credit is due for taking prompt measures for furnishing relief to the sufferers. As soon as the fire was seen to be beyond control, he wired to Charleston for sufficient food supplies to meet the emergency, at his own expense, as well as for shelter tents, which arrived in time for use last night.

A fire broke out in the second story of the Greek restaurant in Mount Hope early yesterday morning, practically destroying that thriving Fayette county town, all the business portion having been destroyed by noon, at which time the fire was still spreading in the residence section, while dynamite was being used to destroy buildings in the path of the flames in the effort to check their further progress.

The fire had a good start before being discovered, and in a short time was sweeping up both sides of the principal street, upon which practically all the business houses were located. The fire department was rendered helpless early in the day by the burning of the hose, leaving it without means of utilizing the water supply, though it is doubtful if the town could have been saved even had this misfortune not occurred owing to the fact the the [sic] buildings were almost all frame structures, and most of them old and consequently more than ordinarily inflammable.

Starting at the southern end of the town, the fire swept toward Macdonald, cleaning up everything in its path, including the Bank of Mt. Hope, the postoffice, high school building, Fisher hotel, and all the general merchandise stores, drug, clothing and jewelry stores, in short, every business establishment along the street, which was occupied almost exclus[i]vely for business purposes.

It will be impossible to estimate the loss with any degree of accuracy for some days to come, but it will be a heavy one, and one from which it will take the community some time to recover.

Quite a number of more or less serious cases of burning and minor accidents have been reported but so far as known no fatalities have occurred.

As the flames approached the saloons, their stock was carried out and placed at the disposal of the public, the natural result being that over indulgence in liquor added its full share to the confusion and excitement naturally engendered by the fire itself.

S. N. Fisher, of Beckley, is among the heavy losers, he having been the owner of the Fisher Hotel, which he had but recently purchased and refurnished and renovated throughout. He was also the principal owner of the jewelry establishment of Fisher & Steiner, Mr. Steiner also being a former resident of this city.

A considerable amount of insurance on the property destroyed is carried by the agencies of Beckley, but the extent of their losses cannot be determined until the extent of the fire is more definitely known.


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