Article from the Lincoln Banner, Wednesday, 15 April 1885
Yesterday morning at a little past five o’clock the fire alarm sounded through our streets, which caused those who were up to rush to the fiery scene, while those who were yet in bed hastily rose and followed after. Binns’ Hotel was the victim. The wind was blowing from a little west of south and the street for two blocks was alive with coals rushing ahead of the wind. Nearly one hundred men were on hand with buckets and by diligent efforts they confined the fire to its first victim. When the danger was passed of the fire spreading further, the Banner reporter began to look up the facts.
How it started.
Mr. Binns arose as usual at 5 o’clock and built a fire in the kitchen stove then went to the bar room to build a fire there. In less than five minutes after Mr. B. left the kitchen the smoke began to enter the bar room and when he returned to the kitchen the entire side of the room was in flames. He at once gave the signal to the family and household upstairs, all of whom were peacefully slumbering, unmindful of the imminent danger that they were in.
Scarcely had they all gotten from the house, without stopping to save even a suit of clothes, when the whole was a flaming mass from cellar to garret. Mr. B. and his family all escaped uninjured except Miss Emma Kraut, Mrs. Binns’ sister. She would have gotten out O.K., but after starting she returned for the children and ere she got out the flames had reached the stairway and burned her face and hands badly though not dangerously. The family saved nothing, even their wearing apparel went to feed the flames.
Lizzie Bouhling [sic; probably Bohling] and Minnie Rees were working at the hotel and they lost all their clothing.
Among the guests in the house were several of our young men. Mead Hughes lost an overcoat, pair of pants, shoes, hat and pocket-book containing about $10. Elmer Biggs lost a purse containing $49.50 and all this clothes except a coat and vest. M. Al. McIlvaine was sleeping with Otto Glitzke, of Cawker, who was here to look after a mill property. Otto describes the scene and conversation as follows: “I awoke on account of the smoke choking me. The fire was just raising the flaming tongue at the foot of out bed. I nudged McIlvaine with my elbow and said, ‘See that fire?’ He rose a little, looked for an instant, then sprang clear out over me and rushing out at the door jumped to the ground. I got up, gathered my clothes under my arm and followed him. When I got out where he was he stood trembling and said, ‘Can’t you give me some of your clothes?’” L.A. Shorter, A.W. Shorter and J.W. Miller slept in the same room. They saved their clothes and trunks by pitching them out at the window and jumping out after them. A.W. Shorter lost his watch.
The young man who clerks in Kinney’s drug store had his trunk and clothes burned.
John West, of Minneapolis, lost his grip and a suit of clothes. He was also badly burned on one hand and his head and face. When he reached the stairway he saw the fire ahead, and drawing his coat about his head and putting his hands under it would have escaped uninjured, but before he got out he came to Miss Kraut and he manfully removed the coat, threw it over her head and helped her out. It cost him a bad burn but he felt gratified over assisting her.
John Bovell, of Minneapolis, fell downstairs, hence the fire did not injure him.
W.T. Wild, of Colorado, this county, was stopping at the hotel. He lost his overcoat, hat and shoes. He assisted in getting the children out.
F.J.Stanosbeck, of Odell, Neb., came the night before the fire with $310 cash and two gold watches. He lost all and his revolver. But he will go home, get more money and come again.
J.H. Wright of Emporia lost $80 and his overcoat.
Before noon yesterday the citizens had made Mr. Binns a present of nearly $500 in cash. They felt the full meaning of “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Mr. and Mrs. Binns have a large circle of friends here, and the fact that this was their second burn-out tended to make our people feel more generous.
While they were living in Iowa they had a hardware and tinware store. They owned the building in which the stock was kept and lived in the second story. Fire struck them and they lost everything with no insurance. When he came to look over the ground he found himself worth $700 less than nothing. This time there was no insurance, but they have something left. They are now living temporarily over the furniture store.
A ball was given in the rink last night, the proceeds of which are to be donated [to] Minnie Rees and Lizzie Bonhling [sic; again, probably Bohling] who lost everything in the fire.