About half-past nine o’clock on Sunday morning, just as the greater portion of our citizens were preparing to go to their churches, officer Mercer discovered dense volumes of black smoke issuing from a Chinese wash-house on Front, near Morrison street. He immediately sounded an alarm from No. 1’s bell, which soon brought the entire Fire Department to the spot, but be­fore they could extinguish the flames the result was most disastrous.

Inch by inch, step by step, foot by foot, squarely and fairly did the fire-boys, assisted by our citizens, fight the conflagration, but aided by the fierce north wind, which seemed to have combined with the flames for the city’s ruin, the devouring element spread headlong onward.

— Dec. 28, 1872