O’Neill, Mr. - House Fire (21 April 1885)
Contact: Crystal Wendt
Surnames: O’Neill, Post
----Sources: Neillsville Times (Neillsville, Clark County, Wis.) 21 April 1885
A Bold Attempt to Burn the O’Neill House Last Thursday Night.
On Thursday night of last week a deliberate attempt to destroy the O’Neill House by fire, and which would without any doubt have resulted in the destruction of every building on that half of the block, was made by some person or persons.
The fire-bug had entered the laundry adjoining the kitchen on the east side of the hotel, and saturated the floor with kerosene oil. He had gathered a lot of dry corn husks and tired in bunches, also saturated them with oil, and placed in the room next to the wall. In the center of these combustibles a burning candle had been placed, over which a cigar box had been turned, evidently with the intention of hiding the light from observation. The amount of rubbish prepared would have certainly started a fire which could not be extinguished by the means at hand in the city, had not the candle filed to burn. The incendiary, through ignorance without doubt, had left no way for the air to enter the box, and the candle had gone out after burning a few moments.
There has been no clew, so far as the officers will disclose, tending to place the quilt on anyone. We understand every attempt possible will be made to capture the miscreant. It is not very pleasant to know that Neillsville contains incendiaries, and now that this attempt to destroy the hotel has brought out the fact that such criminals are or have been within the city limits, the matter is becoming serious and is creating considerable discussion. The city is, considering its size, practically without fire protection, and property is at the mercy of the incendiary or accidental fires.
The O’Neill House is a valuable property, is being run by Mike Post, one of the most popular landlords in northern Wisconsin, and is receiving a large custom.
We await further developments of our local detectives.
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