THE BIG FIRE OF 1876
From Dr. T.J. Henry’s The History of Apollo 1816-1916
For a period of sixty years after the laying out of Apollo. only three buildings burned. An extensive conflagration occurred Wednesday night, January 19, 1876, which originated from the overturning of a kerosene oil lamp in H.A. Rudolf’s shoe store. Twenty nine buildings in all were destroyed, causing $32,000 damage, with insurance of $12,000. The high winds caused the flames to spread rapidly along the southerly side of North Street (First Street) from its lower end to the third public alley above the canal beyond the vacant lots of John B. Chambers. About 24 buildings on the southerly side of North Street, three blocks above the canal, and about five on the northerly side of Main Street (South Second Street) were destroyed. Among these buildings were the post office and savings bank. The people had NO MEANS of extinguishing the fire, except for their own vigorous efforts in the use of household buckets. It was very fortunate under the circumstances of a high wind that the destruction was not more extensive. THE NEED OF A FIRE DEPARTMENT AND MORE EFFECTIVE MEANS OF PROMPTLY EXTINGUISHING FIRES THAN THE COMMON HOUSEHOLD BUCKET WAS VERY APPARENT.
From there Dr. Henry describes the fire departments that were established:
Fire protection is only by volunteer companies of which we have three. No. 1 Hose Company and Hook & Ladder Company have their headquarters in the Municipal Building on South Second Street. Hose Company No. 2 keeps the hose cart and other equipment in Dr. T.J. Henry’s garage and hold their meetings in the hall above. The Oak Hill Company or Hose Company No. 3 has had a large building erected by the borough, at a cost of $920 for their equipment, hose cart, and ladders. This is also the home of the borough horse. Fire alarms are now rung by telephone central.