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Calene Mercantile
in Fire

Sylvan Grove News, 15 February 1912

The Calene Mercantile Co.’s store suffered a heavy loss by fire Wednesday. The fire started by the spontaneous combustion of cotton batting stored in the cellar and from there rapidly spread into the flooring overhead where it brote through and crept up the shelving in the Dry Good Department on the first floor. The fire had gained such headway by the fire department arrived that the entire building was so filled with smoke so dense that it was difficult to located the fire and hindered the firemen greatly in their work.
The loss will reach between 10 and 15 thousand dollars as much of the stock was so badly damaged the smoke and water that it will be a total loss.
The Calene Mercantile Co. was one of the biggest mercantile establishments in the town and carried a stock of $25,000, which was partially covered by insurance.
For a time it looked as though the entire section was doomed and the Saenger Bros. hardware was removed from the building. The stock in Raffety Bros. clothing department was also carried out and at one time the Sylvan State Bank was thought to be on fire.
The Fire Department did heroic work fighting this fire and it was greatly handicapped by being a new organization just organized last Tuesday and for the first time using the new fire equipment which they were not familiar with and the fact that our new water system is still in an “uncompleted condition and no pressure being maintained in the mains it required considerable time to close gates in the mains and get up direct pressure before a stream could be played on the flames. After the pressure was up it was short work getting the fire under control and the fire that bade fore to have wiped out the entire business section of our little city was squenched [sic].

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