This article, in the Centennial Edition of the Lowell Tribune, August 28, 1952, can also be found in the Lowell Public Library's Clipping Files (LH--Disasters):
North Side of Commercial Ave. Again Suffered from Fire Damage in 1902
Prompt Work of the Firemen Keeps it From Crossing the Streets
Sirois Heaviest Loser
Our citizens were awakened at 11:30 p.m. Monday by the ringing of the fire bell and blowing of the whistle at the water pant. The cause of the fire alarm was the discovery by Charles Collins, night watch, of fire in the rear of Charles Schafer's blacksmith shop, which was on one of the Maxwell lots on Commercial avenue. Mr. Collins ran to the fire bell and immediately gave the alarm, which was responded to by the fire department and many of our citizens. People being in their first sleep, some little time elapsed before the fire boys got to work and by which time the fire had spread to the Sirois implement store and east to Duckworth's paint shop, and by the time the water was turned on the fire was under headway and bid fair to be hard to get under control. Four streams were turned on and within the space of 20 or 30 minutes the fire was under control. The building was on the corner of Commercial Ave. and Mill street, and occupied by Hayden and Petrie as a harness shop, and the little building just west of it, although it seemed impossible to save them were saved without any damage to speak of. The roofs of the Keilman and Co. lime house and the livery barns of Hathaway and Kelsey and Brownell implement house were on fire several times but prompt action subdued the incipient fire. Too much praise cannot be bestowed upon our firemen for their promptness and tireless work in fighting the fire. It was thoroughly demonstrated that our water works is equal to any occasion and that no fears need be entertained but that water can be supplied for many hours, for after running three streams all the time and four part of the time for nearly 2 hours there was 98 feet of water in the stand pipe. Milo Brannon, who did the pumping, says that an immense volume of water was thrown, and the standpipe gauge did not vary an inch. It is the first time our water works have had any real test and they were certainly not found wanting.
Had we been without them another large portion of our town would have been in ashes. The losses are as follows: E. Sirois $6,000, insurance $1,000; C. Schafer $500, insurance $400; E.E. Duckworth $300, no insurance; Maxwell buildings $1,200, insurance $300; Hayden and Petrie damage to goods, $200, insurance $200. Town of Lowell $50 in tools and damage to electric lights. In Duckworth's paint and repair shop 14 bicycles and three buggies were burned. The buggies were owned by Jacob Baughman, Allie Hoshaw and a gentleman near Momence. So far as we have been able to learn the owners of the bicycles burned were: Atty. J.W. Belshaw, F.W. Buckley, both new wheels, Dr. J.A. Dinwiddie, tandem, Frank Brown, Cordie Ragon, Arthur Fisher, Cyrus Cleaver, two of Mr. Duckworth's and several ladies wheels. There were 31 buggies lost by Sirois, along with one wagon; the balance of his loss being made up of a four horse gasoline engine, mowers, reapers, plows, cultivators, etc. In addition to loss of stock Charlie Schafer lost a gasoline engine. The origin of the fire is not known but points strongly to incendiarism as the fire was first seen on the outside of the building and spread very quickly the entire width of the buildings destroyed, indicating very strongly that something highly inflammable must have been used.
Lew Tillotson's house on Burnham street burned to the ground at 12:30 a.m. Loss $1500, insurance $1000. Cause unknown.