HISTORY OF PASCO COUNTY
Eleven Thousand Dollar Fire in Lacoochee (1924)
Stock of Two Stores Almost Entirely Destroyed
The following article appeared in the Dade City Banner on June 20, 1924.
Fire of unknown origin damaged the Jensen building at Lacoochee, eight miles north of here Sunday afternoon, causing the almost entire destruction of the stock of the Miller Mercantile company, and of the Almi Mercantile company, while the records and fixtures of the post office, which was located in the store of the Almi Mercantile company, were badly damaged by smoke and water, and the supply of postage stamps ruined. The total damages is estimated as approximately $11,000 with very little insurance.
The fire apparently started in one corner of the store of the Miller Mercantile company, though its origin appears to be a complete mystery. Mr. Miller had been in the store a short while in the morning, but left about 11:30. During the time the store was open it is said there was no one inside smoking or doing anything else that might have caused a fire to start. About 1:30 p.m. smoke was discovered issuing from the store and almost immediately afterwards a ball of flame burst through the walls and rapidly spread all over the side and up on the roof.
A large crowd of people quickly gathered, and the hose reels of the Cummer Cypress Company were soon on the scene. By hard work the flames were kept from spreading all over the building and the fire gotten under control. But not before the stock of the Miller Mercantile company, consisting largely of dry goods and shoes, was almost entirely destroyed, while the general merchandise stock of the Alma Mercantile company was ruined by smoke and water.
The building itself, which is owned by Charles Jensen, a pioneer resident of this place, was badly damaged, one wall being burned out, the partition between the two stores burned through and the roof about half destroyed. This building is an old landmark here, having been used as a post office and store for nearly 30 years. In addition to the damage done to his building, Mr. Jensen, who had his office in the rear of the Miller Mercantile Company’s store, lost office equipment amounting to several hundred dollars.
The total loss is estimated at approximately $11,000, divided as follows: Charles Jensen, building and office equipment, $1,000, no insurance; Miller Mercantile Company, stock, $4,500, no insurance; Almi Mercantile company, $5,000, amount of insurance not known, but much less than the loss; post office, equipment, records and postage stamps, $500. The work of repairing the damage to the building was started early Monday morning, and it is understood that the two business firms who suffered plan to re-open as soon as they can make the necessary arrangements, and replace their stock.