Clipped From The Piqua Daily Call

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 - Piqua, Ohio ^- Wednesday, February 3, 1971 in'...
Piqua, Ohio ^- Wednesday, February 3, 1971 in' SMOKE BILLOWS FROM MAIN STREET STOREROOMS AS FIREMEN POUR WATER ONTO ROOFS Fire Loss May Reach $400,000 y's fire, which gutted three rear of Jack's Drugs, 220 N. Main, a poster store and another room used for Tuesday's fire, which gutted three office and apartment buildings on the southwest corner of the Piqua public square Tuesday morning resulted in an "inflated" loss that may reach $400,000, Fire Chief Louis Mikblajewski said today. "That figure is as good .as any," the chief said. "It is possible we may never know the actual dollar loss." Should this figure hold true, it will be the largest fire loss in the city's history, topping the estimated $300,000 Buecker Furniture Store fire on the night of Feb. 4, 1962, almost nine years to the day before Tuesday's major conflagration. He said this morning that so far he has been unable to obtain any loss figure from the owners of the five businesses which were destroyed by fire. Insurance adjusters, along with Chief Mikolajewski and the owners, this morning examined the fire-wrecked buildings to see what, if anything, can be salvaged. The fire broke out at 11:25 a.m. in the Major Fires: Piqua has recorded a half dozen or more major fires in recent decades -many of them in sub-freezing temperatures like Tuesday's downtown blaze (which many persons are calling the worst in the city's history). Chronologically, major Piqua fires date from the Mickler Building blaze (across the street from Tuesday's fire) on Jan. 22, 1930. Campbell's furniture on North Main north of the On- Flesh Building, was the scene of severe fires in 1933 and 1935. Holland Mills, a stock feed processing plant at South Wayne and the railroad, was destroyed Dec. IB, 1939 at a loss estimated at $100,000. Piqua's veteran Fire Chief Peter Caulficld collapsed and died of a heart attack at this blaze. The Piqua Elks Lodge at Wayne and Ash was gutted by a $300,000 fire Aug. 18,1948 and the Miami Granite works on Washington Ave. was destroyed by another major fire, Feb. 1, 1955. Piqua's last previous major downtown blaze destroyed the former Buecker Store building at Wayne and Ash, Feb. 4,1962, at a loss estimated at $300,000. callboard 88th Year No. 88 24 Pafes 12-tt 12 4-5 M-ll M Jl-tt rear of Jack's Drugs, building owned by Mrs. Allen Pool, 1015 W. Boone. The first group of firemen to reach the scene were told that the owner, Jack Dziech, was in the smoke- filled store. Armed with small fire hoses, firemen entered with the purpose of finding the druggist. Dziech, it later developed, was not in (More photos on pages 2 and 18) the store, and the time consumed in searching for him permitted the blaze that started at the rear of the drug store to spread through the rear to the other buildings which formed an L-shaoed angle around the comer of Main and High. ·As soon as it was determined there was no one in the drug store, larger hoses were put into action in an effort to knock the fire out, but to no avail. Five minutes later, Chief Mikolajewski put out calls for all off duty firemen and assistance from firemen and fire equipment from such communities as Fletcher, Covington, Troy, Bradford, New Carlisle, Ludlow Falls, Tipp City, Brookville, Christiansburg, and Union City, until there were more than 100 firemen, not to mention volunteers, helping to fight the blaze which had then spread to an office-apartment building around the corner. This building, owned by Common Pleas Judge James H. DeWeese, housed the Piqua Office Supply, American Finance Company and the H R Block income tax office on the ground floor, and apartments on the second and third. The apartments were tenated by five families with a total of nine people, including two or more children. On the Main Street side of the building complex was a psychedelic poster store and ano storage and display by the Piqua Office Supply, located in a two-story building owned by Mrs. Charles Allen, sandwiched between the drug store and the three-story brick building housing the Orr Toy and Novelty Store. Orr Toy was itself threatened by fire but escaped with only smoke and water damage. Fire Chief Mikolajewski said today all of the buildings which had extensive, if not total, fire damage would have to be razed. If the fire damage done to the closed Kapp's building extends over 60 per cent of the structure, it, too, may have to be condemned under state law, he added. The fire, which continued until 6:30 p.m. when the blaze was sufficiently under control to permit the return of some of the equipment to the Piqua fire engine house and others to their home communities, had several casualties among the firemen. Fire Chief Mikolajewski was cut on the right hand by breaking glass, and another fireman, Paul Bowman, suffered burns on one ear and part of his hair. There were two others taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation, Jim Robinson and Jim Williams. Firemen had to take refuge from the 10-degree temperatures in one or more nearby stores which remained open during the fire. Among these havens was the Hardenbrook Ford Agency where Mrs. Ted Hardenbrook, Sr., set up an improvised "coffee bar" for firemen, with the assistance of Grissom's market, which furnished donuts and sandwiches. Although more firemen and equipment had departed from the scene after 6:30 p.m., small patches of flames (Concluded on page 12) Across Street -- Fire And Ice 41 Years Ago Hospitals Deaths Society Sports I TV-Co«lci tlaiilncd ByKENSHOFSTALL Tuesday's diasterous fire which swept through six business places at N. Main and the public square recalls to memory a similar major fire 41 years ago just across Main Street in what was then the Mickler Building (now Har- denbrooks). The night of Jan. 22, 1930 was cold. The writer recalls reading of four below during that all-night vigil. The alarm came at approximately 11 p.m. and after half an hour's work it ·M*r*d firemen were gaining control, j MMMfhts later, however, me broke through the roof and roared out of control with water from hoses freezing as it hit. We recall having parked our nice new 1929 Chevy right at the corner beside what was than Oatertag Brothers Clothing tore, at the start. Some ttoe later, w« deciM the location was definitely bad and moved it to the other side of the square. The three-story brick building was soon a mass of flames and the ice from hose line water soon coated firemen, all equipment and filled the street. Despite the bitter cold, a surprising large crowd of citizens watched the fire spectacle from the west side of the square for hours. The roof caved in and the upper walls were crumbling when firemen finally gained control over the wreckage of what had been Mickler's department store and adjoining stores. Sarver's Music Store to the south was heavily damaged by smoke and water and the Fisher Smith luggage and harness store also was dansgcd. Standing in frozen grandeur in eight inches of ice in the middle of Main Street was Piqua's new and first aerial truck. It remained Ice-locked there several days as cold continued. WAILS BUCKLED IN REAR OF GUTTED BUILDINGS (FOGT PHOTOS)

Clipped from
  1. The Piqua Daily Call,
  2. 03 Feb 1971, Wed,
  3. Page 1

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