From the Benton County Record:
Property worth nearly $100,000 destroyed
Volunteer Fireman Killed by Falling Wall
New Fire Equipment Ordered
Fire broke out shortly after midnight Saturday morning in the rear of the new building of the Benton County Hardware Company, and for two hours the fire department and voluteers fought the flames valientlu. but they were fighting against hope, for the water pressure as so weak that a stream of water could barely be thrown into the second story windows. The fire was discovered by john Webster, who lives in the country and a party of boys, who were returning form a party shortly after midnight Friday night. They gave the alarm.
Shortly after two o'clock the north wall fell burying Charles A. Masterson, a hoseman, covering him with a ton of brick. He was quickly recovered by Lyle Casey and Wm. Wilson, but death had come instantly. he was examined by Dr. Huffman who was near by and found frightfully mangled.
About twenty minutes later, the two story Huffman building caught fire from the roof and was completely destroyed. It was occupied by the Atkinson and Huffman Wholesale Grocery, the Electric Studio, and the Zimmerman Grocery.
In the meantime flames were quickly eating their way into the south end of the building and at one time looked as if the Massey Hotel, the Craig building and handsome structure of the County National Bank were doomed. The timely arrival of the Rogers Fire department with their splendid equipment and the fire was soon under control.
The exact damages of the fire cannot be fully given until the insurance adjustor makes his report. The loss given below is based on the figures given by the firms themselves.
The Benton County Hardware company had the greatest loss. Their new two story brick was completed but a few weeks ago, at a cost of $16,000 and was used as a combined sample room, warehouses and Ford Service Station. A stock values at $35,000 was on hand at the time of the fire. Among the heavy losses were eight power sprayers, one car of Springfield wagons, four or five Weber Wagons, about the same number of buggies a car of International gas engines, 25 new Ford cars, trucks and a large quantity of spray material, besides a complete stock of Ford car parts, and other pieces of machinery. The firm carried $28,000 insurance on this stock.
The Atkinson and Huffman Wholesale Grocery Company carried a stock of about $30,000 which was covered by $14,000 in insurance.
The building of Mrs. W.M. Baird which went through the fire safely was insured for about $2000 but was damaged and weakened somewhat by the fire. It is thought that $500 will cover the loss.
The big fire proved that our pretty red truck labelled Bentonville Fire Department is all right on a dress parade but with fire staring it in the face, proves inadequate. Consequently at the council meeting Tuesday night it was decided to purchase a suitable fire truck that will take care of our needs for several years to come.
Old and leaky hose had to be used at the fire although the city had placed an order for 1000 feet of new hose several months ago. A first class firefighting equipment, good hose, and the fire plugs examined every thirty days would prove a big factor in having our high insurance rates reduced.
(The headstone for the grave of Charles Masterson was purchased by the fire department and the nozzle he was holding at the time of death was presented to his widow. Masterson was not a member of the department but only a passerby who had stopped to help man the hoselines.)