Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Fire At Goodnow's - Part III

Three alarms were sounded for a fire at the rear of 716 Centre street, Jamaica Plain. Nineteen horses were lost, and damages of $25,000 were suffered by two wooden and one brick stable. Two of the buildings were owned by J.W. Goodnow and the other by Edward and Charles Fox, who ran an express delivery business from the premises.

The fire began in Keddie's stable, and burned for a long time before the first alarm was pulled. Surrounding tenement and house dwellers removed their belongings to the safety of the streets.

The fire spread from the Keddie's stable to a two story brick building owned by Mr Goodnow, destroying it. The blaze went on to damage the adjacent two story building at 708 Centre street as well.

Employees of the Allen & Fox express company ran into the stable and led out 23 horses and removed a number of wagons. Twenty tons of hay, ten tons of straw and seven tons of grain were lost. A loft used for storing furniture was destroyed, causing a loss of $4000.

Several thousand spectators watched on, while firemen fought small fires caused by burning embers falling on nearby roofs. With Centre and adjoining streets roped off by the police, traffic was blocked from passing the burning buildings.

There was suspicion that the fire might be the result of arson. Five years earlier, the stable of Allen & Fox express company on Union avenue was burned in a fire of unknown origin, with a loss of 26 horses.

Patrolman William Frank was one of the first at the scene, and aided in the removal of the horses. Charles Duffey and Harry White of Green street and G.H.W. Pulsifer of 177A Green street also assisted in saving the horses. Pulsifer had already passed the fire department examination and was on the list for appointment to the job.

The 23 rescued horses caused great excitement as they raced through the streets. One by one, they were caught and taken to safety. Employees of the Fox company saved nearly all of the customer's packages at the building. Most laundry packages in the Keddie stable were saved as well. Both the buildings owned by Mr Goodnow and the one owned by the Fox brothers were insured.


This was the third fire reported from the same site in fifteen years. Fires in stables were not unusual at the time, but the Boston Globe reports no other site in Jamaica Plain suffering more than one in the years between 1872 and 1924. Kerosene lamps and coal stoves combined with tons of hay and straw might reasonably explain the occasional blaze, but Mr. Goodnow and the businesses associated with his property seem to have been remarkably unlucky to say the least. Interestingly, the contemporary report cites the possibility of arson, but not because of the past fires at the site.

Source: Boston Daily Globe July 20, 1910

No comments:

Post a Comment