December 19, 1909
Lee's Summit, twenty-five miles southeast of Kansas City, unable to cope with a fire which threatened the business section last night, appealed to Kansas City for aid and a special train, carrying a fire engine and hose reel, went out over the Missouri Pacific at 11:45 o'clock, nearly two hours later.
The fire started from a stove, which was located over the M. A. Kinney grocery store. In a few minutes the entire business section of the town seemed doomed. By midnight three business buildings were badly burned and two others were damaged.
T. M. George, a real estate dealer, was overcome by the heat, but was rescued and revived. No other injuries were reported.
The Lee's Summit fire department was badly handicapped. The company had only a gasoline pump with which to work. Water was pumped from a public well. Two streams of water were being directed on the fire when the pump broke and the volunteers were rendered helpless. The Kansas City's aid was sought.
A special train was made up of two flat cars and one caboose. The fire engine and reel was from No. 1 station. Nine men were taken along from Company 16 with Assistant Chief Alex Henderson in charge.
The special train reached Lee's Summit at 1 o'clock this morning. when the Kansas Cityans arrived the entire population of Lee's Summit, numbering 2,000, out fighting the fire in their helpless way, cheered wildly. The engine and reel were unloaded at once on skids and in fifteen minutes a big stream was being played on the fire. the water from the old mill pond was used.
The flames were checked rapidly by the Kansas City firemen, and the impending complete destruction of the business district was prevented.
The entire stock and goods of the M. A. Kinney company, in whose building the fire started, were completely destroyed. The flames spread to the building belonging to J. D. Ocker, which was occupied by his stock of furniture and hardware.
The entire building was destroyed, including Mr. Ocker's complete stock of goods, and also the offices and fixtures of Dr. J. C. Hall, who occupied the floor above.
The fire next caught at the Citizens' National bank and the building and all the fixtures and property were consumed except the fire-proof vaults.
The J. P. McKisson building located east of the burned block was saved by the valiant work of the volunteer fire department, under the command of H. Lewis. The volunteers had played their streams on this building until the breaking of the apparatus.
One business block was practically saved. In this was the W. B. Howard Clothing store occupying the ground floor and the Bell telephone company on the floor above.
The loss of the Bell telephone company exceeds $3,000 although the local office was but slightly damaged. Only a week ago the company had rewired the town.
All connections and cables were burned and the service completely destroyed. W. B. Howard, cashier of the Citizens State bank declared that his business was the only one affected entirely covered by insurance.
In the Citizen's Bank building, where the Kansas City firemen finally checked the fire, were located the offices of Keupp & Kimball, a real estate firm, and also the rooms of the city council. All the records and papers of the city were stored in the city rooms, and were a complete loss.
The Kansas City firemen directed two streams of hose on this building and within twenty minutes had the fire put out. There was plenty of pressure and 1,200 feet of hose were used.
The loss will aggregate $65,000. The damage to the buildings was estimated at $15,000, while conservative estimates place the damage to the goods at $50,000. M. A. Kinney carried $1,000 insurance on both his stock and his building.
J. R. Leinweber, president of the bank at Lee's Summit, announced immediately after the fire that plans would be taken for an early re-building of the bank building. The bank is capitalized at $26,000 and has a surplus of $15,000. Its deposits at the last quarterly statement were $108,00. All the valuable papers and bonds held by the bank were deposited in the fire-proof safety vaults, which were uninjured by the fire.