The Great Perry Fire of 1909
Mary L. Platko
The “Great Perry Fire” occurred on September 28, 1909 on what is nowMain Street of Perry Village. The business block on the Main Street of Perry was wiped out with a loss of $30,000. The Buildings burned were: F.W. Langshaw’s General Merchandise Store, meat market and barn, The Perry Telephone Exchange over the market, Perry Post Office, dwellings owned by Mrs. F.G. Salkeld and F.W. Langshaw, Orcutt warehouse and barn and William Northhard’s barn. With no organized fire department in Perry at that time, the fire was fought by the old fashion “fire bucket brigade” method by area residents. (Residents kept handy a “fire bucket” in their home in case of any fire emergencies). The bucket brigade was powerless to check it, and Painesville and Madison were called upon assistance. The fire may have been caused by spontaneous combustion that started in a storage shed behind the Langshaw building.
It was reported that an English Collie, called Duke helped to put out the flames. The dog was harnessed to a four-wheeled cart, and rushed back and forth from the town well to the scene of the fire. On the cart were carried large cans of water and the dog was able to draw 300 pounds at a trip without slightest effort. He was recognized as a hero by residents of the town.