Fires, whether accidental or deliberate, were a constant threat in an era and locale where buildings were mainly of frame construction. The following account of a fire in Marion, Crittenden County, can be found in the 31 March 1876 issue of the Evansville Journal.
Marion, Ky., March 28, 1876 - Our sleeping citizens were roused up about 2 o'clock last Sunday night by the alarm of fire. The hotel building known as the Douglass Hotel, the largest hotel in town, kept by Mr. N.B. Douglass, proved to be on fire. The cause of the fire is not known, but supposed to be the work of incendiaries. The entire building, which was a large one, was consumed. Mr. Douglass' loss is heavy, probably $2,500. No insurance. The building was owned by Mr. W.C. Carnahan, who had no insurance. Mr. Carnahan's loss is probably $4,000.
The losers besides Messrs. Carnahan and Douglass, are Mr. George Short, who occupied a portion of the building as a photograph gallery. He lost everything but a few clothes. Messrs. Mays & Hammond, who had a lot of carpenter tools and materials in a portion of the building used as a carpenter shop, lost all they had.
Mr. Douglass still proposed to care for the weary and hungry traveler in his new abode, he having moved into the large residence of Mr. Carnahan, which he is fitting up to receive guests. The general public should remember Mr. Douglass in his misfortune and patronize him when they stop in town, for he proposes in the future, as in the past, to maintain the reputation of the popular landlord, which his industry and politeness has won for him in the past.