Kinney Millinery Wiped Out by Fire

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The Fort Dodge Messenger: Jan. 3, 1905

Kinney Millinery Wiped Out by Fire

Lamp Explodes in Hands of Miss Kate Kinney and She Has Narrow Escape.

Gets Out by the Back Door

Loss Was About $2,000 Only Partially Covered by Insurance – Fire Department Had Hard Fight to Control The Blaze.

One of the fiercest small fires that ever occurred in the city was that which broke out in the Kinney millinery establishment on Saturday night, consuming practically the entire stock of millinery amounting to $2,000 and gutting the structure in spite of the utmost efforts of the fire department.

The fire was caused by the explosion of a lamp in the hands of Miss Kate Kinney, just as the sisters were preparing to close their establishment for the night, and it was a miracle that this  young lady was not burned to death in the fire that followed.

Story of the Fire.

The Kinney sisters have been in the millinery business here for the past four years and during this time have worked up one of hte largest trades enjoyed by any of the like establishments of the city. They had just waited on the last customers, fixed up their window displays for Sunday and were blowing out the lights preparatory to leaving, when the accident happened.

Miss Kate Kinney was engaged in this and stepping upon a chair to remove one of the lamps from a wall bracket, noticed that the bowl was very hot. She lifted it out when there was a flash, and the burning oil was scattered about over the counter and floor. The explosion threw her from the chair, and as she fell her head struck on the radiator, stunning her for several seconds.

Her sister, hearing the fall, rushed from the back of the establishment, and even then the flames were spreading rapidly over the room. In falling Miss Kate had knocked over another large lamp containing a gallon of oil, and this added to the general conflagration. Her sister rushed out the front way and gave the alarm, and she recovering consciousness, attempted to follow her, but was cut off by the flames and forced to go back to the rear of the structure to make her escape. In her dazed condition the  young lady has no idea how she got out of the building, but she finally escaped in some manner and the cool air revived her.

The fire department responded to the call and were on the scene immediately, but before they had an opportunity to throw a stream of water, the whole inside of the building was a blinding mass of flames and it was impossible for them to save anything except the shell of the building. For an  hour they had the hardest kind of a fight to control the blaze, but all of this time they kept the flames from spreading to the adjoining structures, and finally had the last spark out.

When seen today Miss Kinney said:

“No, the loss was not nearly covered by insurance. We had a stock of $2,000 and our insurance will not run over $1,100. It will take the greater part of this to pay our wholesale bills, and there will be little left. I cannot say whether we will start up in business again or not. I fear the loss is so heavy that we will not be able to do so.”

The Kinney millinery was one of the most enterprising firms of the kind in the city and had an excellent and growing patronage. The proprietors were well liked, and the people of the city will be glad to see them reestablished. They have the sympathy of their friends in their unfortunate loss.

The building will probably be repaired as the frame itself was only little damaged.

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