Fire of 1880
The fire originated from Simon Damiani's confectionary shop, whose inhabitants barely escaped the blaze. Mrs. Damiani later died from her burn wounds.
The fire spread quickly by a brisk wind, sweeping down Palafox from Romana to Government Streets. Reaction to the fire was slow, as the only steam-powered fire engine in town was at a machinist's shop being repaired, but eventually citizens formed a bucket brigade. The fire was stopped at the City Hotel near Tarragona Street to the east, and behind the Customs House to the west.
Damages were estimated between $500,000 to over $1 million. Two lives were lost. Over 100 buildings and businesses were razed by the fire, including:
- The U.S. Customs House and all its records
- The Escambia County Tax Collector's office
- The Pensacola Gazette offices
- The Pensacola Telephone Exchange
- F. C. Brent's bank
- The Merchants' Hotel
- The Yniestra Building, including Frater and Monroe's dry goods & grocery
- The Moreno Building
- The Roache Block
- N. B. Cook & Company, groceries
- A. L. & A. M. Avery's hardware store
- J. B. Walton, barroom
- W. F. Fordhall & Company, drugs
- Dunn's Exchange, billiard hall & restaurant
- W. B. Hoyt, groceries
- John Pons, barber
- W. T. Hutchison, furniture
- Henry White, bakery &
- Thomas Velasco, cigars
Many of the businesses had just received their Fall stocks. Insurance coverage was initially estimated at $250,000.
- "Fire's Disastrous Work: the Business Part of Pensacola Nearly Destroyed." New York Times, December 12, 1880.
- "Fire and Disaster." Boston Daily Globe, December 12, 1880.
- Hoskins, Frank W. (1928). The History of Methodism in Pensacola, Florida: Its Rise and Progress. Cokesbury Press. p. 79.