KEYPORT, N.J., Sept. 22. A Watchman aboard the Steamer "Keyport" was the first to cry, "Fire!", when he spotted the beginning of the devastating fire that ripped through downtown Keyport, NJ last night, destroying thirty-one building and doing damage expected to be in the tens of dollars.
"We believe that the fire started by two women with a kerosene lamp, who live in a small room behind ol' Abram Morris' butcher shop," said a man familiar with the facts surrounding the blaze.
"It was something else," said a lifelong resident. "One wood frame building after another just disappeared. People were throwing their belongings out of windows into the street."
"The city is completely at fault for this fire," said a man who lost his business and home on West Front Street, the area hardest hit by the blaze. "Keyport has no firemen, no hydrants, and firetrucks haven't even been invented yet."
"We started a bucket brigade," he continued. "Bringing buckets of water up from the harbor. It didn't help."
Indeed, by daybreak, more than 30 buildings in the business district were gone.
The Keyport Fire Department was born less than a week after the Great Fire, and its 100% volunteer members have worked hard to keep the town safe since then.