History of Oreana Fire.




January 1st a fire destroyed an elevator, the property of Isaac Kirby.

The elevator took fire at midnight and the flames spread rapidly.  O. Reeme, A. Harrouff and Wm. Gantz were the first to discover the fire on Saturday night.

First seen at 12:20am by 1:20am the building was smoldering in ruins.  The fire started in the crib part of the building over the drag belt which fed the sheller.

All went to work to save the property in the immediate vicinity.  After a hard fight of just under an hour everything was out of danger.

Two box cars on the tracks beside the elevator were destroyed before they could be moved, one loaded with corn and the other empty.  The Elevator had just been completed at the cost of $6000 and was insured for $3000.


The earnest effort of the people of Oreana prevented the destruction of the village when the elevator was destroyed, no other property suffered great damage except Wil Jacob’s stable which had to be torn down to prevent the spread of the flames.  The store of Wm. Gantz also near the fire was favored by the little wind that was moving, was sufficient to carry the flames from it, also efforts to the residence kept the roof and side of the building under water and the property was saved.  Water thrown on the roof and side was converted into steam instantly and went bounding off as if from a hot iron.  The house of Wm. Grush was in great danger from flying sparks and fire brands but was so successfully guarded that the property was saved.


During this weekend and fire bug was on the loose in Oreana.  Within 2 days 5 barns had been set on fire.

APRIL 1890

Lighting struck Josha Green’s barn, the building with all its contents were consumed.  The barn contained 6 horses, forty tons of hay, 400 bushels of corn and other grain.  The loss was $1700 and the insurance covered $1000.  The barn was insured by Friends Creek and Whitmore Township Farmers Insurance Co.


J.R. Henard’s home near Oreana burned today causing $1,375 damage to the home and $250 to the house hold goods.  He received $1000 for the Friends Creek & Whitmore township Insurance Co.

JANUARY 3rd 1897

Village had an exciting time fighting a midnight fire at 202 W South Street in the wind and rain.  Citizens called out to fight against the biggest fire they have had in years.  Fire of any kind is a serious matter in the village for there was no fire apparatus to put out the flames and when the fire gets fairly under headway the bucket brigades has small chance of saving anything.  The fire was discovered in the general store of John Strope and the flames were shooting through the roof and reaching out to clean up everything in reach.  Building was occupied by Strope and its contents were destroyed and the little frame building owned by Dr. A. McBride and occupied by Dr. C. Mallory was also destroyed.

Considerable part of contents from the McBride building  were saved but practically nothing from the Strope store was saved.  The general store was a total loss at $2800.


The Finn Strope Cider Mill burnt at 2am this morning.  The loss was $700 and had not been in operation since last fall.  Teams come from 20 miles to have apples grounded.  There were 4 to 5 men working here each fall.

AUGUST 25th 1906

A fire broke out on Saturday morning at 202 W Bower in the Knight of Pythias Hall which was dedicated in November of 1895.  It was occupied by Deffenbaugh’s general store and K. of P. Lodge and club room.  The hall and town hall was destroyed and Mrs Mary Strope’s house was damaged.  Damage was about $5000 to the hall and $750 to the town hall and $250 to Mrs. Strope’s house which had to be repaired and painted.

DECEMBER 13th 1914

The Oreana store at 202 W South owned by Ross Hockaday burned to the ground Saturday morning only a few articles saved, total loss over $8000.  Only $5400 was covered by insurance.

The fire started from the flu which was al threat was left standing.  Mr Hockaday went over about 7pm and made a fire in the stove.  He then went across the road to his home to feed the chickens and do a few other chores.  Had been gone not longer than 20 to 25 minutes when he heard someone screaming “fire” but the flames were blazing all around the flu at the ceiling 12 feet over head.  He realized nothing could be done to save the building.


An explosion at the motel did some damage to the North West corner of the building.  One man was injured and later died.  Unknown date.

April 20th 1964

Mrs Guy Harrison of 203 W South died in an explosion and fire.  Cause of the fire was water leaking into the old gasoline tank used for lights, years ago by Ross Hockaday.  Water displacing gasoline fumes which leaked into the Harrison basement.  An explosion occurred and the blast knocked out part of the foundations and basement wall causing the fire which did considerable damage and taking the life of Mrs Harrison.


A fire destroyed the Oreana Beauty Shop and top Notch Barber Shop at 214 W South.  The loss was $20,000.  An old car burnt also.  There were five women in the shop at the time of the fire.  Mr and Mrs Kenneth Meier owners of the shops were burn on their face and hands.




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