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 Early Laona Area Structure Fires

April 1, 1904 from the Sheboygan Press.
Five little children of the family were forced to flee in their night clothes and walked a half mile barefooted to the nearest neighbor's house,
when the farm home of George Bruer (Brewer?), near Laona, Wisconsin, was completely destroyed by fire early Saturday morning.

December 21, 1905 from the Eau Claire Daily Telegram
The dry kiln of the Connor Lumber and Land Company's mill at Laona, Forest county burned last night.  The loss is $3,500 fully covered by
insurance.  The origin of the fire is unknown.  Although the kiln was located very near the mill, employees succeeded in preventing a 
spread of the blaze.  W.D. Connor, chairman of the state Republican state central committee is president of the company. 

February 28, 1907 from the Stevens Point Journal
Laona, Wisconsin – Engineer Russell and Fireman Deutsch, who run the blasting engines from the roundhouse at Connor’s Mill, had their
hands and faces badly burned in a fire at the round house Friday night.  Watchman Dyer was also seriously injured and may die.  The
round house was a total loss.

December 1, 1911 from the Forest Republican (Crandon, Wisconsin)
News From Laona - Monday morning the Sargent hotel burned to the ground.  At about seven o’clock a terrible explosion was heard which
shook nearby houses and the next moment black smoke poured out of the building everywhere.  

No lives were lost, but Miss James, druggist at the Connor store and Miss Ambrose, a teacher, who’s home is in Stevens Point, were
injured in jumping from a window and little Charles Sargent had both feet burned slightly.  Miss Ambrose was carried to Dr. Elliott’s home
and is not able to be moved yet but is improving.  Miss James was taken to Dr. Lackner’s home and later moved to the home of Prof.
Fitzgerald, where she is still confined to her bed.  Miss McCarty, another teacher, who’s home is in Merrill, had the presence of mind to
drag Miss Ambrose in from the hall which was filled with smoke, knock out the window screen and see her safely out before she attempted
her escape.  Then she tied the bed spread to the bed and taking her money, watch, violin and suit case she swung herself out of the
window and a ladder was brought to her assistance. 

Nearly everyone in the hotel lost all their clothes and several lost quite a sum of money.  Homes have been opened to the people and
kindness shown in many ways.  It is a great lost to Mr. Sargent and the town.

March 18, 1914 from the Grand Rapids Tribune (Grand Rapids, Michigan) 
Marshfield - The large general store and warehouse owned by the Connor Lumber and Land company at Laona, Forest county, was
destroyed by fire Friday morning with a loss of $50,000.  The new hotel recently built by W.D. Connor, close by, was also damaged. 

August 14, 1916 from the Daily Northwestern - Oshkosh, Wisconsin
Madison, WI - Total fire losses in Wisconsin of $603,025 were reported during the month of July to the fire marshals department in the 
office of the commissioner of insurance.  The number of fires reported was 280.  This is an increase of fifty-nine fires and an increased loss
of $229,295 over the month of June.  The larger total losses are due in part to an increase in lightning fires, to delays in reports by some 
fire chiefs and to one heavy single fire loss.  The losses were covered by insurance of $1,124,630.  In the month of June 221 fires were
reported with a total loss of $373,730.  According to causes the principle fires reported were:

Chimneys ........................     76                  $ 30,000
Defective Wiring ...............       9                  $ 14,905
Fireworks (July 4) .............     11                  $   3,810
Gasoline Stoves ...............      3                   $ 13,410
Lightning (Not Rodded) .....     45                   $ 95,420
Hot Boxes .......................       5                  $200,700
Matches ..........................     23                  $ 15,315
Spontaneous Combustion .     21                  $ 38,100   

Thirty-three fires of unknown origin caused loss of $44,744 and seven of suspicious origin resulted in losses of $40,545.  It is interesting 
to note the small number of fires from fireworks and that only one lightning fire occured on rodded property.  Classified by properly affected
the chief fires were:

Property                   NumberLoss
Barnes ...........................     76                  $107,780
Dwellings ........................   100                  $  73,780
Elevators .........................      3                  $140,400
Sawmills .........................      3                  $ 61,400
Stores .............................    10                  $ 46,075

February 27, 1920 from the Daily Northwestern - Oshkosh, Wisconsin
Laona, WI (AP) The Ovitz hospital here was destroyed by fire today.  The hospital was filled with patients but all were removed safely.  
The loss is estimated at $20,000.  A defective heating plant is believed responsible for the fire.  

April 19, 1929 from the Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune.
The three small children of Frank Karl, son of Mr. and Mrs. Louis Karl, farmers living northwest of Auburndale, were burned to death last
night when an exploding gasoline stove set fire to the Karl cottage at Windfall Lake, seven miles from Laona, according to an Associated
Press dispatch received by the Tribune today. 

The three children, Francis, 3, Dorothy, 2, and a six-months-old daughter were in the cottage alone while Mrs. Karl went to a nearby well
for water.  She was gone probably 15 minutes, and on her return she found the dwelling in flames.  She rushed into the flames and carried
the youngest of the children from the kitchen.  However, the infant died in her arms.  The other two were in the bedroom cut off from all
hope of escape or rescue by the fire.

Neighbors who came from the little settlement a quarter of a mile away recovered the bodies after the cottage had been destroyed.  They
also sent for the children's father who was at work in the lumber camp of the Connor Lumber and Land company of Laona.

Mr. and Mrs. Louis Karl of Auburndale were notified of the tragedy this morning, and left for Laona by car.

May 05, 1931 from the Sheboygan Press.
The loss resulting from the fire which destroyed the Lyric Theatre and three adjoining dwellings at Laona Saturday morning, will amount to
$25,000.  The fire started in the projection room of the theatrer and spread to houses on each side, and then to the third house.  The
theatre was owned by Louis Mallow, Wabeno.

1931 - Exact date and source un-known.
Another bad fire struck Laona about 2:30 Tuesday morning destroying five buildings.  The fire was discovered in one of the soft drink parlors
operated by a party known as "Big Mike", who also kept roomers.  Three lumberjacks were in the building at the time of the fire but
fortunately got out before they were effected by smoke.

It is said a hurried call was sent to the Connor Company for aid but after inquiring as to where the fire was, the company refused to let 
them use their equipment for the reason the fire was not on company property.  

John Pierce, the barber, then called Crandon for help.  Mayor Himes asked Chief Art Bock to take the large pumper to Laona to help fight
the fire which had by this time gained considerable headway.  Several other buildings had also caught fire and there was great danger of
the entire south side getting wiped out.

Chief Bock, accompanied by Ted Walt Bradley, started out about three o'clock in the morning and reached Laona in the nick of time to
save the lower part of the village from being destroyed.  The engine was stationed near the Rat River bridge on Highway 8 and in a short
time a stream of water was playing on the fire.

The Blackwell department also answered the fire call and came with a chemical engine to help but the fire was under control by this time.  

The following buildings were totally destroyed: William Grumann store, residence of Mary Dorich occupied by the Charley Listel family,
Louis Bedder home, Rose Chutich soft drink parlor and "Big Mike's" soft drink parlor.  

The total loss is estimated to be about twenty or twenty-five thousand dollars.  William Grumann carried $11,000 insurance on his building
and stock.  It is said that all carried enough insurance to cover their losses.

June 24, 1935 from the Ironwood Daily Globe.
Workmen today were clearing away the debris of a $150,000 fire which razed the Connor Lumber and Land company planing mill and
storage sheds Saturday night.

W.D. Connor, Sr., of Marshfield, a company official, said the planing mill will be in operation again by Wednesday and that all buildings 
will be reconstructed.

The fire was believed to have begun in a blower on the machine floor of the planing mill.  Firemen from Laona, Wabeno and Crandon as 
well as 50 CCC youths worked all night to prevent sparks from igniting other buildings and finished lumber.  

January 8, 1936 from the Sheboygan Press.
Laona, Wisconsin - (AP)  Damage estimated at between $10,000 and $15,000 was caused when St. Leonard's church here burned to the
ground early today.  Firemen of Laona and Wabeno, aided by about 50 CCC workers, fought the blaze for three hours, but succeeded only
in keeping the house of the priest, the Reverand Samuel Engl, from burning.

A new pipe organ, recently purchased, which was to have been installed tomorrow, was destroyed with the building.  It was valued at $500.

February 12, 1940 from the Albuquerque Journal (New Mexico)
Laona, Wisconsin - An 18 year-old youth perished Sunday in a vain attempt to rescue a 50 year-old disabled lumberjack from the flaming
ruins of Peter Shimkus tavern and residence.

After a three-hour battle to extinguish the blaze, fireman dragged the charred bodies of John Shimkus and Michael Yelsick, the lumberjack,
from the embers.

October 28, 1940 from the Ironwood Daily Globe
Marshfield (AP) - Fire, originating in the paint department, caused damages estimated at $40,000 to the furniture section of the Connor
Lumber and Land company plant at Laona Saturday night.  Approximately 100 men were thrown out of employment.  Decision has not yet
been made about rebuilding of the department.  The loss was fairly covered by insurance according to W.D. Connor, head of the company,
at Marshfield. 

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