Mendon Burns

From the newspaper: “On October 4, 1916, while many of its citizens 
were attending the Kalamazoo County Fair to see the “Human Fly”, the 
Mendon business district burned down. A fire started in Roger’s Butcher
Shop, where a clerk was rendering lard in a large kettle. 
The big red fire “pumper” was lost for the battle as excited firemen 
backed it up to the riverbank to run hoses and watched helplessly as 
it broke loose and plunged into the St. Joseph River. The call went 
out for help from other fire departments. Kalamazoo and Sturgis fire 
departments sent equipment on railcars, and the trains sped to Mendon 
in record time. It took Kalamazoo only two hours to get its equipment 
loaded on trains and down to the catastrophe. By evening forty-one 
businesses and three dwellings were burned.” The Kalamazoo Gazette 
story states that, “the greatest human casualties were the firemen 
who drank liberally from the drug stores’ supplies of liquor and 
were in such bad shape that many were not able to get home until 
the next day.”