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"Fire! Fire!"
An Eyewitness Account of the Bates House Conflagration

The following excerpt was taken from the May 11, 1874 issue of the Union & Advertiser (a newspaper published in Rochester, New York) and gives the account of one unidentified eyewitness who had watched the Bates House burn down the previous night. The Bates House, on the southwest corner of South Avenue and Main Street in the village of Unionville (later renamed Hilton) was a hotel run by Francis B. Bates.

"About two o'clock Sunday morning our usually quiet village (Unionville) was startled by the cry of 'Fire! Fire!' Every man, woman and child was out of bed in a jiffy, and with all possible speed hastened with pail in hand to the scene of the conflagration; and never did men and women work better. The fire was found to have originated in the rear of the harness shop of Mr. James Goodno, located near the center of the large wooden building known as the Bates House, the whole of which structure was soon enveloped in flames, making it impossible to save anything... The loss was fearful - four dwelling houses, four barns, and two shops all one sheet of flame at the same time, and all entirely consumed, with nearly their entire contents... Our special sympathy to Mr. F. B. Bates, who has lost all that a man can, namely: all that he hath."


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