Fire in Oceana

Wyoming Mountaineer
November 29, 1907

Oceana Fire

Its Wreck and Ruins - A Brighter Side to it Yet.

It was with mingled sadness and some degree of joy that Ye Editor viewed the charred ruins of the business section of Oceana last Sunday. It is distressing to look at the blackened debris of what a few days before were happy homes, stores filled with goods, hotels where people had been housed and royally fed for years, the old court house and clerks offices and other numerous offices and buildings - all - all a mass of ruins. Here were the accumulations of years, the reliance and hopes of the future, all swept away by the licking flames in forty minutes time.

But there is a far brighter side to it. It is a verification of the old maxim "that nothing is so bad it might not be worse." Not a single life was lost nor person injured. How immensely thankful everyone should feel that the fire occurred at 1 o'clock in daylight rather than 1 o'clock at night. What is all the property loss as compared with the loss of a single life in the seething flames.

With life and health and energy Oceana can again arise like Venus [sic] from its ashes, and no doubt will do so.

The losses given by us last week will need some corrections.

M. P. McCraw and V. L. Kelly, loss about $13,000.

W. G. and Fred E. Cook, $18,000 to $20,000.

W. G. Cook on storehouse, residence and household goods, about $5,000.

Fred E. Cook, entire household &c, 5000 or more.

A. R. Wittenberg $30,000 with $15,750 insurance.

Capt. J. A. Cook, hotel and furniture at least $3,000.

Dr. K. C. Edgell and wife, house office and furniture, $3,000.

J. O. Sander estate $2,000 to $2,500.

Dr. J. W. F. Allen, office, books, drugs and instruments, $3,000 to $3,500.

Chambers Bros. About $2,500.

Chambers Bros. and A. M. Steward, $2,250.

Wyoming County in old court house and office, $2,000.

Wyoming Telephone Co., $1,200 to $1,500.

Col. Childers and Mrs. Ellis, $1,250 to $1,500.

Bank of Wyoming, $800 to $1,000.

Loss to D. J. Cook P. M. about $150 to $200.

Mr. Shannon's loss on office buildings and old Christian house will likely reach $750.

Charley Barrett household and clothing, $300.

Besides these there were other losses that it is impossible to get or estimate, which will swell the total to $125,000.

The wind was blowing a gale when the fire started and the flames leaped across the street in solid fiery sheets; and it was not until some time after 17 buildings were destroyed that the people of either end of the town could tell anything about the havoc wrought at the other end.

The explosions of powder, dynamite, cartridges and gasoline tanks added greatly to the danger and resounded like a distant battle in which both cannon and small arms were in play.

It is but natural to suppose the whole population were dazed and for awhile the residents of the burnt district were unable to think or fix any plans, but normal conditions of mind were rapidly developing by Monday morning and plans maturing.

A. R. Wittenberg with his indomitable will and energy lost but little sleep over it. He will move to Pineville in a few days and put up his offices and business here.

V. L. Kelly has rented the Chambers hotel, furnished and has opened up hotel.

Capt. J. A. Cook will move in the Sanders property just as soon as vacated by Mr. Wittenberg.

Dr. Edgell will occupy the McCraw property near the school house as soon as it is vacant.

W. G. and Fred E. Cook will rebuild and open up a store in the very near future if their plans do not miscarry.

The bank will repair the brick walls of the old clerks office and move in it.

Arrangements are being made to put up a couple of small offices at once for P.O. and central telephone office and in a short time business will be moving along in normal conditions. Let everyone give a helping hand and a word of cheer in this their time of need.


West Virginia Archives and History