The Hamptons Union, Thursday, June 28, 1923
On the second anniversary of the big fire of 1921, Hampton Beach Sunday morning was again visited by fire and a loss of over $80,000, or over, inflicted before the near conflagration was stayed.
The Wilbert Hotel was practicably destroyed, the Bristol garage, and two cottages on Marsh avenue and C streets two other cottages were scorched, and 22 automobiles were destroyed. The fire occurred at 2:30 o'clock Sunday morning. Nobody was injured beyond two men who received minor cuts and bruises.
The first man to discover the fire was William Drummond son of Mr. and Mrs. John J. Drummond who occupied the house opposite the burned Bristol garage at the corner of C street and Marsh avenue.
Mrs. Leora M. Bristol, who owned the garage building, perceived the glare of the fire at the same time Drummond was hustling to the fire house her mother and two children two blocks away and moved to a neighbor's and soon their home was burned to the ground.
Another cottage adjoining the Bristol place was occupied by Walter W. Goss, manager of the garage and William Harvey, caught fire and was soon destroyed.
The Wilbert Hotel, a three story wooden structure on C street of 25 rooms, on which the carpenters had been putting the finishing touches on a new dining room, was also burned, In the hotel at the time were Wilbert Miller and family and eleven guests.
Chief of Police S. L. Blake arriving before the firemen, and fearing a general conflagration, telephoned to Salisbury, Amesbury, Newburyport, and Exeter, all of which sent apparatus.
The night watch at the coast guard station saw the fire and the entire membership reported and did good work stopping the fire.
All the automobiles in the garage lie on the ground like piles of junk and give a silent testimonial of the heat of the fire.
The burning of the Bristol garage last Sunday morning at Hampton Beach marks the burning of every garage there during the past two years.
In the destroyed garage there were 22 automobiles, some of them were new, and they belonged to parties from Massachusetts as well as from New Hampshire. A few of the machines lost are scheduled as follows:
J. E. Charnley, the Brodie Electric Co., W. S. Onge, N.E. Herbert all of Manchester; W .H. White of Raymond, George Ashworth of the Hotel Ashworth, Mr. Moran, proprietor of a candy shop, Mrs. Leora Bristol, Walter W. Goss, manager of the garage, all of Hampton Beach, E. L. Hildreth of Brattleboro, Vt., Robert Day of Gathersburg, Md., Dexter Priestly of Dover, Fred McCabe well known boiler manufacturer of Lawrence, Mass., who lost three day old costly touring car.
Total loss estimated, $79,000, Bristol garage, $15,000; tires, etc. $3,000; 22 cars in garage $40,000; two Bristol cottages, $6,000; Wilbert Hotel, $15,000 (no insurance); cottages slight damage, $500.
The cause of the fire is said to have been from an overheated automobile which had been driven into the garage for the night.
The fire had so well started when discovered and burned so rapidly, from the usually combustible nature of the garage surroundings, that by the time anyone could get anywhere near the place it was impossible to enter the building to rescue any of the machines many of which were new and some of them high priced. The garage was a wooden affair and the fire made short work of it. The Wilbert Hotel was situated but a few feet from the garage.
But little of the contents of the hotel was saved, so swiftly did the fire jump from the garage to it.
Largest Crowd Sunday at Hampton Beach
The news of the fire spread rapidly after daylight and the result was that Hampton Beach had one of the largest crowds in its history. Certainly, never so early in the season has there been such a throng here, and there seemed to have been thousands of cars from all parts of New England.
Besides learning the lesson of the great fire of two years ago, Hampton Beach summer residents and business people, in rebuilding, had avoided using materials which would help the spread of fire. The material used in construction had been largely of fireproof nature. This fact in a great measure prevented another lamentable disaster.
It is a source of pride for the Hampton Beach residents to know that the fire was stopped and under control before help from outside arrived.