Berne fire 1914

From Helderberg Hilltowns of Albany County, NY

In Our Heritage, following the report of two earlier major fires in the hamlet of Berne, is the following report of the 1914 Berne fire:

In 1914 an even more intense fire occurred just west of the site of two earlier fires. Approximately where the Masonic Hall now stands was the large Patten home. Someone put hot ashes into the woodshed and the house quickly caught fire. This time the blaze spread west to the large old hotel and barn. It was winter and there was much snow so the bucket brigade used melted snow to help fight the fire. Very close to the west of the hotel was the house occupied by John Adams. This was the old building erected by Daniel Simmons as a tavern and owned for many years by E. Mathias Shultes as a home and store. When it became apparent that the fire would continue spreading,the men attempted to push the burning walls of the hotel back into the fire, but the huge old beams would not give, and the Adams home was also doomed. There was time, however, to remove most of the furniture. The small building which had once been the law office of E. Filkins was saved by placing wet rugs on the roof and survived to become a post office and later Berne's first fire house. It is a coincidence that the Weidman home escaped all three large fires.