Ruth Brubaker, LAKETON - YESTERDAY AND TODAY FOR THE YEARS 1836-1976 (1976), pp. 152-154.
FIRE ON MAIN STREET
This was a fire that was not forgotten by many of the people of Laketon and one can still see what it did. Getting so very hot that it marked trees across the street and these marks can still be seen.
It was May 1, 1896, that Mrs. Fites became ill and had to get up. Looking out she saw the fire between two business buildings and gave alarm immediately. Mrs. Fites lived where Mrs. Bruce Fulton now lives. By the time the people were able to gather to fight the fire it was well out of control. In fact it was looking very much like the whole town was threatened. Word was sent to North Manchester for help. But people put the minds and bodies to work and by taking down a small building belonging to Michael Ruby on the alley they were able to keep it from taking the whole block and by midnight it began to die out.
Four houses, several sheds, stables, ice house, grocery, shoe shop, and butcher shop was burned. The total loss was probably $3,500 and no insurance.
The fire was thought by all the people to be the work of an incendiary, but it was never proven.
SECOND BUSINESS FIRE
This fire took place in 1897 in the Thompson & Son building. A.C. Huggins was awakened by the smoke coming into his bedroom. He set off the alarm and people soon came to the spot. With their hard work they were able to get the fire out before much damage to the building. The stock was practically a total loss. This was a rather large grocery store and the damage was probably $2,000.00.
When the fire was extinguished the people knew for sure someone had started it for there was unmistakable evidence in five different places. There were two places in the cellar and three places in the main store room. Also two places found upstairs where plastering had been broken and holes filled with greasy rags, but these places did not catch.
People were becoming very alarmed for there had been several fires and they wondered who was the incendiary. If the guilty one was ever caught, it is not known.