Arson Trust -- Police Searching For Explanation of Reign of Fires
(G. R. Herald - 6 August 1916)

Since April 26, Twenty Blazes of Unknown Origin and Combined Loss
of Fifteen of Them is $316, 840 --All Give Indications of Being Caused by An Incendiary.

Fires Surrounded by Suspicion - Losses, $316,840

Date Building Amount
April 26 Imperial Furniture company's warehouse 5,600
April 27 Imperial Furniture company' warehouse 26,500
June 7 Valley City Chair company's plant 125,000
June 19 Store building, 719 Cherry street, S. E. 475
July 4 American Box Board company's baled paper 350
July 4 John Vanden Bos' saloon, 400 Grandville avenue 275
July 8 Store building, 657 Michigan street, N. E. 800
July 25 Ashton Building 75,000
July 29 Grand Rapids Tailoring company, 137 Pearl street 100
July 30 Imperial Furniture company's lumber dry shed 35,000
July 30 Grand Trunk freight shed, in which was stored a quanitty of Imperial Furniture company's product No Claim
July 31 Thomas Canning company's vinegar house 37,000
July 31 Luce block, 136 Monroe avenue, N. W. No Claim
July 31 355 Grandville avenue, S. W. No Claim
July 31 Ashton Building No Claim
August 1 Rear of 118 Division avenue, S. 425
August 3 Harley Smith Furniture company's store, 231-3 Pearl street N. W. 15
August 3 Amberg building, 229 Pearl street, N. W. No Claim
August 5 DeVries Printing company's plant, 12-14 Fulton street, E. 300
August 5 Braudy building, 335 Monroe avenue, N. W. 10,000
TOTAL   $316.840

Fires of Unknown Origin - Losses, $1,034

July 13 1125 Crosby street 700
July 18 1601 Monroe avenue 79
July 20 Bissell Carpet company's plant 26
July 25 542 Fairview avenue 209
July 27 998 Butterworth street, S. W. 30
TOTAL   $1,034

Is Grand Rapids at the mercy of an arson trust? Or is the city the victim of a maniac whose criminal vagaries are endangering not only valuable property, but human life?

These are questions that are taxing the vigilance of the police department and the effective working force of the Grand Rapids fire department.
What's the answer? The head of the fire and police departments want to know, and they are determined to find out. The owners of valuable property want to know also.
Until the cause of several disastrous fires is known, they cannot rest in the security with which they have a right to expect the law to surround them.

Created: 5 February 2010