The Caddo Herald
May 15, 1903
Store of W. H. Ainsworth and I.O. O. F. Hall Burned
OF AN INCENDIARY ORIGIN
Fire Discovered Too Late to Save Building.
---work of volunteer firemen. Close escape of calaboose.
Thursday morning about 1:30 o’clock patrons going to the depot to catch the No.—3 southbound train, discovered flames issuing from the inside of the store of W. H. Ainsworth, and the alarm was immediately given, but too late to save the building. A light ---west wind prevailed which carried the flames from there to the I.O.O.F. hall, then to the frame building formerly occupied by The Herald, owned by C. A. Hancock, where the progress of the fire was stayed. A large crowd had assembled, and much hard work was done to accomplish this result and to save the contents of the Odd Fellows and Hancock buildings out of which nearly everything was saved.
The store of Mr. Ainsworth has occupied the lot for twenty odd years, was of frame and a good substantial building containing three large rooms occupying a space of 100x60 feet. The fire was first discovered near the middle door on the north side, inside the building; and when the crowd assembled the rear door was found open. The only tangible theory is that the fire was started to hide a burglary. The loss on the building was about $3,000 and on the stock as near as could be learned, $28,000. Insurance on house, stock and fixtures, $17,700.
The I.O.O.F. building was a two story frame structure, erected a long time ago, the upper part was owned by the Odd Fellows and used for a lodge room by the K.Ps, Odd Fellows, and Woodmen; the lower part owned by P. W. Arnold and occupied by R. Willowisky as a dry goods store. All the contents of the lodge room except a part of its carpet and organ were saved, but badly broken up. Nearly all of the goods of Willowisky were saved, but badly damaged in handling and by mud and water. Loss on building $1,000, no insurance. Damage to Willowisky covered by insurance.
Loss on the C. A. Hancock building, about $400. Other occupants of houses along the street, badly damaged by moving goods out. The front of the implement house of Edward Bates & Son was scorched, but easily saved by the use of a hand pump attached to the well in the yard.
The fire is most regrettable. Every indication points to incendiaries. Mr. A. B. McCoy was going to the train, and passing on the north side of the building, distinctly heard sounds inside the building as if someone were walking in stocking feet and he immediately proceed to the depot and returned with Deputy Alexander and they discovered the flames as above stated; no clue to the miscreant has been found.
Wednesday night during the performance of the Ha-g shows, an alarm of fire was given and not a few people left the show. The blaze proved to have been in the Hampton building occupied by the baker. Quick work as quickly extinguished the blaze. Little damage.