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> Gallery 28 - Fires

Filename=tc-fire-melony-1.jpg Filesize=132KB Dimensions=1024x646 Date added=Sep 23, 2011
Melony Block Fire (Maverick Laundry)The Maverick Laundry fire occurred on Wednesday, May 6, 1908. Box 32, at the corner of Bank and Main was struck at 12:05 in the afternoon. The Maverick Laundry was located in the Melony Block which was just across the street from the Hooker House. At the time of the alarm, thick black smoke was coming from both the laundry and from the A.C. Blanchette furniture store.
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Melony BlockThe flames worked their way through the floor and into Blanchette's furniture dealer’s store. That caused much of the furniture store’s stock to be damaged by flames, smoke or water. Unfortunately, just a few days earlier, Blanchette had received a new shipment of household goods and four new pianos.
Melony Fire - 1.jpg
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Melony BlockThe fire was believed to have started in the basement drying room where the huge amount of clothes drying there, along with carpets and oily machinery created not only a mass of flames but billowing clouds of smoke as well. It was said that firemen at the rear of the building had to stand back several feet in order to avoid the smoke.
Melony aftermath.jpg
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Melony Block fire According to the Chronicle story, it was about 10 minutes before all the fire companies were on the scene although “some companies arrived very shortly after the alarm and in a few minutes there were three streams of water on the flames”.In this May 6, 1908 photo (originally from "The Chronicle"), spectators gathered to see the damage done by the fire in the Melony Block.
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Melony BlockThis photo has been "sharpened" and the had brightness and contrast adjusted.
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Thread City Garage /Johnson HouseOn the night of January 9, 1915, what was said to be, “one of the most serious fires in a decade” occurred. The fire was discovered in the Natchaug Garage, located directly in back of the Johnson House Hotel on Main St. As one can see from this photo, the fire eventually spread to and gutted the Johnson House.
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St. Valentine's Day - 1968The famous St. Valentines Day fire of 1968 destroyed the Sherwin-Williams paint store, and a vital center of old Willimantic. Many suspect the fire was set in an attempt to attract HUD funds for the city's ill-fated urban-renewal program. Note the icicles on the traffic lights.
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Willimantic Fire Alarm Box locations
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Johnson House HotelThis is the Johnson House Hotel in the aftermath of the January, 1915 fire that began in the Natchaug Garage (right side of photo). The fire also destroyed the Thread City Garage. For a short time, the Hooker Hotel was in danger but the valiant efforts of firefighters saved the Hooker House as well as many dwellings on Meadow Street from burning.
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Windham High SchoolAt 2:40 A.M. on April 28, 1913 a fire was discovered at Windham High School. The companies responded promptly but when firefighters reached the school, it was apparent that the fire had progressed rapidly.
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Windham High SchoolThe fire continued to burn throughout the morning. Many of those who came early stayed on even as more devastated members of the community came to see what was left of the building.
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Windham High School fire ruinsThis photo shows part of the original Windham High School after the disastrous April 27, 1913 fire. The school was built in 1896 and an addition was put on in 1910. The fire began in the addition but the whole school was destroyed.
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Melony Block Fire - Pic of the Week February 12 2015During the Melony Block fire of May 6, 1908, serious losses were incurred by the Maverick Laundry and the Blanchette Furniture Store. The “Courant” criticized the fire department for a delay in response to the fire. Chief Webster discounted that and said that it was just four minutes between the alarm and the time that “water was playing on the fire”. Chief Webster went on to lament the fact that there was not enough protective gear for the firefighters.
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