Extensive Conflagration. - The large brick
forwarding, commission and storage establishment occupied by Bridgford & Co.
fronting on Dock street, corner of 20th, was discovered to be on fire about
fifteen minutes past 4 o’clock yesterday morning, in several places in the
northeast corner. By the time the alarm became general and the firemen arrived,
the whole interior of the capacious edifice was one mass of flame. The firemen
poured water into the place at an astonishing rate, but to no purpose. One of
the proprietors, Mr. D. B. Bridgford, who slept in the office, made his escape
(minus his usual apparel) by leaping from a second-story window on a large pile
of laths stored on the sidewalk, but received little injury. - He, however, lost
all of his clothing and various articles of personal property, in his sleeping
apartment, besides a considerable sum of money, only a small portion of which,
in silver, was afterwards recovered from the debris below. We understand that
Mr. B. would have lost his life, also, had he not been waked by the cries of
watchman Boze, who, with his partner, had just approached that point to
extinguish the street lamps. They aided him to escape with life. The large
building adjoining, occupied by Mr. J. H. Beegleston as a ship chandlery, which
was full of goods, took fire from the intense heat, and was also consumed,
though a considerable lot of valuable property was rescued.
The two buildings were part of the Enders’ estate, and
owned by Mr. Edris Berkeley, of Baltimore, and were, we believe, insured for
$6,000 each, one of the policies being issued by the Virginia Fire and Marine
Insurance Company. The Old Dominion Nail Company had an insurance of $10,000 on
nails stored with Bridgford & Co. Womble & Claiborne an insurance on 200
bbls. fish, stored there. Bridgford & Co. were insured, personally, for
$14,000 in various offices, including a policy of $5,000 in the Merchants’
office....The State, as well as the occupants and owner of the houses, is a
considerable loser by the above fire - a lot of army stores, such as fish, mess
pork, rice, apples, flour, hay, tar, and percussion caps, having been consumed.
The whole loss, in building, stock, &c., may be roughly estimated at
seventy-five thousand dollars. - Mr. John M. Hall, formerly with Adams &
Co.’s Express, lost seven or eight hundred dollars, having that amount in
goods on storage there. ....The fire was the work of some evil-disposed
scoundrel - of this there seems no doubt. The sparks and cinders flew a great
distance, and set fire to the roof of the old Quaker Church, Dibrell’s
Warehouse, Wilson B. Hill’s factory, Carr’s factory, and other buildings;
but the flames were all seen and put out in time.
It has been suggested to us, in view of the fact that
incendiaries may attempt to play their despicable pranks in future, that the
members of the Home Guard would do good service by performing patrol duty, thus
saving their on and the property of all citizens from meditated destruction.
They could not better employ themselves as adjuncts of the watchmen in thus
providing for “home defence.”
The warehouse of Luther Libby & Son, corner of 20th
and Cary streets, was saved from burning by the exertions of the Richmond
firemen, who exerted themselves successfully to prevent the fire from extending
across the street.