PORTLAND – With the embers of Portland’s City Hall scarcely cooled from Friday morning’s fire, this city was visited tonight with another disastrous blaze, which gutted the large wholesale house of Milliken, Cousens and Company, and threatened the entire wholesale district within a block of Friday’s conflagration. The total damage is estimated at more than $550,000, covered by insurance.

The Portland Fire dDpartment had not recovered from its heroic work of Friday morning, but fought the blaze without outside aid. An engine company from Biddeford was asked for; and although it responded promptly, the fire was so well under control when it arrived that the engine was not unloaded from the train.

50 years ago, 1958

WASHINGTON – This is the 75th birthday of some of Uncle Sam’s closest relatives. They’re the 2 million people who work under civil service. It was January 1883, when Congress decided the time had come to emancipate the poor old federal worker from shackles of the traditional spoils systems. Until the passage of the first Civil Service Act, many a man was forced to fork over a year’s salary for the right to hold a four-year job in Washington. Political parties imposed special levies against officeholders.

25 years ago, 1983

• A sports news service that will provide additional coverage of major sporting news events of interest to New England sports fans begins today in The Sun. Followers of the Celtics, Bruins, Red Sox and Patriots will find more stories and more background information concerning their favorite teams.

• Large crowds turned out Wednesday to collect free bags of potatoes donated to the People’s Action Committee by a local insurance firm. More than 2,000 area residents received 10-pound bags of potatoes distributed in several area towns and the Twin Cities. The bags were part of about 35,000 pounds of potatoes donated by General Adjustment Bureau of Business Services of Lewiston following an insurance settlement.

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