N&W in 1912--Fire

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Thu Aug 25 21:01:32 EDT 2011

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
January 22, 1912

Lighting Plant, Store, Hotel and Packing House Plant Totally Destroyed
Norfolk and Western Depots Seem to Bear Charmed Lives, This Structure, Immediately in Path of Flames, Escaping Damages
That the Norfolk and Western depots bear charmed lives was proved yesterday morning when the town of Northfork was visited by a disastrous fire which did damage estimated by the property owners at over $95,000 with insurance amounting to probably $60,000. The town's lighting plant, hotel, largest grocery store and Armour's packing plant were totally destroyed by the most spectacular fire which has visited the coal field since the destructive fire at Welch over a year ago. Although the depot was close by it escaped damage.
Arrangements have been made whereby the Powhatan Coal and Coke Company will furnish 600 electric lights which will be cut in today, while it is expected that a similar amount of electricity can be secured from the Keystone Coal and Coke Company. The town uses about 2,000 lights. Through the kindness of Geo. P. Johnson, general superintendent of the Norfolk and Western, the town's water supply having been cut off by the destruction of the pumping station, water was cut in from the Norfolk and Western mains yesterday afternoon and a full supply of water has again been secured. It will be several days before all the homes will be supplied with electricity although arrangements will be completed today whereby the business district of both Clarke and Northfork will be supplied with lights.
The fact that the Norfolk and Western depot escaped recalls the fact that recently the Matewan depot, the Iaeger depot, the Graham depot and last January, the Welch depot, have been directly in the path of disastrous fires but they have all escaped even a minor damage. It is possible that a movement may be started in Northfork and Clarke to get a new depot in view of the substantial class of new buildings to be erected to replace those burned yesterday.
The fire is believed to have originated from some defective wiring on the top floor of the hotel.
The major portion of the insurance on the buildings was carried by Bluefield fire insurance agencies, while the Armour loss was carried from the home office, and that of the Norfolk and Western by the Railway Syndicate. A part of the loss was also carried by mutual companies which make a specialty of certain lines of insurance.
[Several paragraphs of this article that did not pertain to the N&W have been omitted here.]

Gordon Hamilton
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