Lacoochee – Fire destroys six stores



Newspaper Article (1958)

Reprinted from the April 5, 1958, edition of the Tampa Tribune


2 Merchants Don’t Plan to Reopen

By Nell Woodcock Tribune Correspondent

DADE CITY, April 4 — Fire destroyed six frame stores and a seventh was badly damaged in a fire early this morning at Lacoochee, a sawmill town seven miles north of here.

The total loss was estimated at between $20,000 and $25,000. The fire began about 2:30 o’clock this morning in the balcony of what used to be a theater. Constable J. E. Stanley, who gave the alarm, said he believed defective electric wiring started the fire in the building, which was occupied by a beer tavern and pool hall, know as Marvin’s Place.

The building was located in the center of a block in the small business section.

Drug Store Destroyed

E. Abraham, owner and operator of Lacoochee’s only drug store, suffered the greatest loss in the fire. His store, which was the first building to be erected in that section of town 35 years ago, was not covered by insurance. He estimated his loss at $10,000.

He explained he had not carried insurance because of the high rate on frame buildings. He is a resident here and said he would not rebuild his Lacoochee store.

Stanley and Abraham both highly praised Dade City’s fire department and said the fast and efficient work of the firemen saved three buildings on the east end of the block and some four or five houses located near the rear of the stores.

Groceries Saved

By their concentrated efforts, the blaze was retarded and permitted a groceryman to remove approximately 80 per cent of his stock and valuable equipment before the flames engulfed the building. A. J. Brabham, owner of the grocery store, moved into a building across the street and resumed business.

Another groceryman, Huey O’Quinn, suffered a severe loss to merchandise because of water but his building was not badly damaged by the fire. O’Quinn also stated he did not plan to reopen his business.

Another poolroom, a barber shop and an empty building were destroyed by the blaze.

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