In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

Biddeford History & Heritage Project

Sharing the history of a proud city rising where the water falls

Cities of Smoke and Soot

Ruins of Somesville neighborhood fire, Saco, 1908

Ruins of Somesville neighborhood fire, Saco, 1908

Item 99394 info
McArthur Public Library

It was a sweeping fire which consumed the Saco Flats on September 15, 1908. Starting at around midnight, the Saco Fire Department were the first responders. They arrived several minutes after the call was received from Box 67, near the Crossman and Son's Box Shop. It is assumed that the fire started because someone carelessly tossed their lit match into the sawdust of the lumberyard across from the box shop. By the time the conflagration was finally stamped out, thirty-one buildings, twelve million feet of lumber and two tenement buildings were reduced to ashes.

Flying embers were carried by intense wind as far as Five Points in Biddeford. The flames threatened the Deering-Proctor Lumber Company as well as the Diamond Match Company, which lay just on the opposite side of the Saco River. Assistance from the fire departments of Biddeford, Saco, Portland, Sanford, Kennebunk and Old Orchard Beach were required in order to contain the fire. Causing roughly $10 million dollars in damage by today's standards, the fire stopped just short of the Somesville Bridge and is one of the worst blazes in Saco's history.

Item 3 of 13