Springfield Sun
January 6, 1896




Poor Old Unprotected Yellow Springs Again Fire Swept




The Fire Boys Start But a Message Stops Them




Captain Timmon’s Action in An Appeal For Help


The Residence of Mrs. Williams of this City Destroyed, Among Others – Loss $7,000


     Yellow Springs was again visited by a bad fire Sunday morning and as a consequence of neglect to heed warnings to procure some sort of fire apparatus, the town sustained another heavy loss and the unprogressive and stingy people of the town who have succeeded in defeating the movement for better fire protection are being roundly roasted as THE SUN found out on a visit to the scene of the conflagration yesterday.

     Just eight months ago the Little grain elevator and several other buildings were consumed by a fire at a loss of $12,000.  About five months ago the portion of Xenia avenue lying probably 300 feet south from the postoffice was destroyed at a loss of about $10,000 and yet the town is not protected by fire apparatus of any kind, save several sections of lawn hose that be attached to any force pumps.

     At about 2:45 a.m. Sunday, Mrs. Dr. Charles Ridgeway was awakened from her sleep by a crackling noise and in alarm called to her husband, who rushed from the bedroom on the ground floor into the diningroom and found that the stove had set fire to the woodwork of the room behind the stove and also the pantry door.  He hastily called to the family, consisting of Mrs. Ridgeway, her mother, Mrs. Goldsbury aged 90 years, Mrs. Keziah Easton of Dayton and the baby aged about 2 years all of whom escaped from the house.

     By this time neighbors had been aroused and the bells began to ring and the cry of “fire” was soon spread all over the town.  Willing hands soon had the furniture in the parlor removed, as well as the bureaus and other things containing valuable papers, etc.  This was all that could be saved, as the fire had rapidly crept to the top of the house, which was a two-story frame, and a few moments later it was a solid mass of flames.

     A big double house, owned by Mrs. Laura Williams of this city, and occupied by Moses M. Newsom, stood just next to Dr. Ridgeway’s and in a short time it caught from the flames.  Mr. Newsom’s family consisted of his wife, a little girl, a married daughter and her husband, all of whom were gotten out safely.

     When it was seen that the Ridgeway home was doomed the men began carrying out Newsom’s furniture and other household goods, and succeeded in saving nearly all the contents.

     One part of the Williams home was formerly occupied by Pat Graham of Springfield as a saloon, but though insured was rented by the Springfield Brewing company.  When the Williams house caught on fire things began to look rather dangerous for that part of the town and great alarm was felt.  Assistance was at once telephoned to both Xenia and Springfield at the same time.  The word was received in Springfield by Fireman Tom Brown of the Central house, who notified Fire Chief Follrath about it at once, and President Ludlow of the B.P.A. ordered that assistance be sent.  Preparations were begun to send a hose reel and a steamer down with a full set of men, but no locomotive could be procured to draw the train.

     When Xenia was notified the chairman of the fire committee of council, Captain Timmons, refused to allow the department to leave the city, claiming that it was not wise to take away the little protection that they had themselves, as they might need it badly. 

     The train dispatcher at Xenia notified Chief Follrath he would send an engine, a caboose and a flatcar from Xenia to Springfield; which was done; and at 4:45 o’clock the train reached this city, and just as the boys were ready to start word came the fire was under control.

     While the fire was burning at its greatest Dr. Ridgeway was seen to stagger and several men caught him and carried him to a lounge that happened to be near and compelled him to lie down upon it.  A physician was called and it was found that he had taken sick from having swallowed so much smoke and all day long he suffered terribly though by evening he was considerably better.

     The Ridgeway home and its contents were worth in all about $4,000 or $4,500 but were insured for only $1,400 in McGervey and LeSourd’s agency at Xenia.

     Mrs. Williams’ residence was valued at $2,000 and was partially covered by insurance, and the Newsom household contents were not insured at all.  The total loss will reach $7,000 if not more.

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