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This Day in Norwood History-October 12, 1944-Flames Wipe Out Downtown Block

Cafe And Market Gutted By

Loss Estimated At $25,000; Cause Wot Yet Determined

Warning From Telephone Operator Leads To Discovery By Police;
Firemen Find Basement Inferno

WHERE FLAMES RAN AMOK EARLY WEDNESDAY — Top photo shows the exterior of the store block on Washington street near the Norwood Press gutted by fire from end to end at an estimated loss of $25.000. Photo at lower left shows interior of Frank’s Food Market after the fire. It was in the basement of this store that the fire started. The large refrigerator chest at the rear crashed through the wooden flooring. and here one end of the chest rests on the basement floor. In the center can be seen the white computing scales and what is left of the showcase. The charred walls shown here were banked with canned goods before the blaze. At the right is an interior view of the Press Cafe Bar after the fire. The fallen partition in the foreground formerly separated the kitchen from the bar. (Surette Photos)https://i0.wp.com/norwoodhistoricalsociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/1944-10-12-Fire-Photos-898-Washington-St-photo-collage-4k.jpg?resize=300%2C229&ssl=1 300w, https://i0.wp.com/norwoodhistoricalsociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/1944-10-12-Fire-Photos-898-Washington-St-photo-collage-4k.jpg?resize=1024%2C782&ssl=1 1024w, https://i0.wp.com/norwoodhistoricalsociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/1944-10-12-Fire-Photos-898-Washington-St-photo-collage-4k.jpg?resize=768%2C586&ssl=1 768w, https://i0.wp.com/norwoodhistoricalsociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/1944-10-12-Fire-Photos-898-Washington-St-photo-collage-4k.jpg?resize=1536%2C1173&ssl=1 1536w, https://i0.wp.com/norwoodhistoricalsociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/1944-10-12-Fire-Photos-898-Washington-St-photo-collage-4k.jpg?resize=2048%2C1564&ssl=1 2048w, https://i0.wp.com/norwoodhistoricalsociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/1944-10-12-Fire-Photos-898-Washington-St-photo-collage-4k.jpg?resize=1965%2C1500&ssl=1 1965w, https://i0.wp.com/norwoodhistoricalsociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/1944-10-12-Fire-Photos-898-Washington-St-photo-collage-4k.jpg?resize=600%2C458&ssl=1 600w, https://i0.wp.com/norwoodhistoricalsociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/1944-10-12-Fire-Photos-898-Washington-St-photo-collage-4k.jpg?w=1480&ssl=1 1480w, https://i0.wp.com/norwoodhistoricalsociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/1944-10-12-Fire-Photos-898-Washington-St-photo-collage-4k.jpg?w=2220&ssl=1 2220w" sizes="(max-width: 740px) 100vw, 740px">

WHERE FLAMES RAN AMOK EARLY WEDNESDAY — Top photo shows the exterior of the store block on street near the gutted by fire from end to end at an estimated loss of $25.000. Photo at lower left shows interior of Frank’s Food Market after the fire. It was in the basement of this store that the fire started. The large refrigerator chest at the rear crashed through the wooden flooring. and here one end of the chest rests on the basement floor. In the center can be seen the white computing scales and what is left of the showcase. The charred walls shown here were banked with canned goods before the blaze. At the right is an interior view of the Bar after the fire. The fallen partition in the foreground formerly separated the kitchen from the bar. (Surette Photos)

A Washington street cafe and an adjoining food market were wiped out by fire early this morning when flames swept a one-story business block next to property. Loss was estimated by at $25,000.

The fire, which started in the basement of at 898 Washington Street, spread quickly to the adjacent Press Cafe, gutting the entire block. Only a hollow shell stood this morning.

A warning from an alert telephone operator at the exchange that something was wrong at the Press Cafe led to the discovery of the fire. At 1:18 a.m., the operator called police headquarters and reported that she had detected a noise over the cafe wire. Officers Riley and Quinn investigated and discovered the blaze. The Fire Department was notified immediately and moments Jater alarms were rung in within three minutes of each other from boxes 44 and 46.

BASEMENT INFERNO

Firemen, finding the basement in flames, were hampered in reaching the source of the fire because of no outside entrance to the market basement, other than small windows at ground level. As a result. holes had to be hacked in the market flooring. Billows of dense smoke poured from the inferno below, forcing firemen back again and again while attempts were made to direct lines through the apertures.

The flames had gained such headway that soon the entire structure appeared doomed. Tons of water from nearby hydrants were poured into the structure as the firemen kept up a losing battle.

An investigation was being conducted this morning to determine the cause of the fire, the worst here in several months.

Firemen worked all night at the scene until the all-out at 8 o’clock this morning. A protective force was still on duty this forenoon.

Although few people were on the street at the time the fire broke out, the flames attracted hundreds of nearby residents. Police were on duty at the scene all night, rerouting traffic from Washington street.

The inside of the structure was a shambles this morning. Tenents of the property, who were notified of the fire as soon as possible after it was discovered, found if anything worth salvaging.

FOUR STORES IN BLOCK

The market occupies the north end of the block of four stores. The other stores arc occupied by the Press Cafe—the two in the center as a restaurant, and the store at the south end by a bar.

Jordan F. Kauffman is the proprietor of the food market. The cafe is owned by Martin Foley. James Foley and Roger Connolly, who operate the Club uptown.

John Drummey is manager of the cafe. He left the premises about a half hour before the fire was discovered. and he reported everything in order at that time.

Carmela Vitagliano of Temple street, West Roxbury. is listed as owner of the business block, which is assessed for $8,800.

Last night’s fire was the second for Kaufman at his place of business in recent years. His store was gutted by flames when located at Howard and Washington , and only last August there was an awning fire at the present location.

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