Waddle’s Hotel, Hettrick’s General Merchandise Store and Verville’s Saloon Burned—Insurance Is Light

(Newspaper unknown February 1907)

Fire swept the business portion of Yelm yesterday afternoon, destroying three of the largest buildings and thus all but wiping out the business portion of the thriving little town. Hard work on the part of a volunteer fire brigade saved the’ day. The buildings burned are:

J. Hettrick, two story building, general merchandise store; hotel on second floor. Loss $7,000.

W. B. Waddle, Yelm hotel, story and-half building. Loss $2,000.

Fred Verville, one story building, saloon and barber shop. Loss $1,000.

The total loss is about $10,000 with only $2,000 insurance carried by Mr. Hettrick upon his building and merchandise.

Bad Flue Cause.

The fire is believed to have started from a defective flue in the Waddle building. The flames had gained such headway when discovered that they could not be checked and the volunteer fire fighters directed their attention, toward saving the adjoining buildings ad in carrying goods out of the Hettrick store. A strong wind was blowing. A large water tank and windmill directly in the rear of the burning buildings was the means of saving other buildings in the town. A stream of “water was kept on the Hettrick building  while   the   work of carrying out the stock was progressing, but the workers were soon driven from the building by the smoke and the greater part of (lie goods were destroyed. The hotel furnishings were all destroyed.

As soon as the fire got beyond control appeals were sent to the adjoining towns and the Northern Pacific dispatched trains from Rainier and Tenino with volunteers to help fight the fire. Within an hour and a half the three buildings were entirely consumed.

Mossman’s big store and the post office were saved. The fire practically leaves Yelm without hotel accommodations.

News Reaches Olympia

The fire early put the telephone wires out of commission and news of the fire did not reach Olympia until about 4 o’clock and then only a meager bulletin was received. When confirmation of the news was had about 5 o’clock Pi re Chief Raymond brought his new Ford automobile into good use by going to the scene of the fire, making the trip to Yelm In spite of the bad roads within less than an hour and a half. C. M. Hartwell, business manager of the Olympian, accompanied him. They succeeded in, getting a message” through to Olympia shortly after 9 o’clock allaying the anxiety of Yelm people in the city

who had been unable to learn anything definite as to the extent of the fire. They returned last night, making the trip back after dark without incident.

Insurance Rates High.

This is the first fire of any extent that has visited Yelm in many years. Owing to lack of fire protection insurance rates are high and Mr. Hettrick was the only one of the losers carrying insurance- He will recover about one-quarter of his loss. Mr. Hettrick was in Tenino and was unable’ to reach Yelm until late yesterday evening,

Whether or not the buildings will be rebuilt at once could not be learned, but it is believed they will as all were doing a thriving business. The destruction of the saloon does not leave the town without a thirst parlor as A. Backlund has just obtained a license for a saloon which he is opening across the street from the fire.

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