View of the Mitchell Hotel fire looking SW from the corner of North Tomahawk Avenue and West Somo. The worst fire in the city's history was the Mitchell Hotel fire of March 6, 1929. First notice of the fire was received shortly before 1 p.m. and in the next three hours 19 buildings burned to the ground. Requests for assistance had been quickly sent to nearby fire departments in Wausau, Merrill and Phillips, but nearly impassable roads slowed their arrival. (A pumper was loaded on a flatcar at Wausau but was not sent)
Merrill's pumper made it here at around 2 p.m. but broke down shortly after hooking up and had to be abandoned. The Phillips pumper and crew spent over two hours fighting their way through snow drifts, arriving shortly after 3 p.m. Their Seagrave pumper had an unheated, open cab design which made it necessary for them to change drivers every ten minutes just to stay warm.