From the Richmond Dispatch, 7/18/1864, p.1, c 6
Fires — Between the hours of eleven and twelve o'clock. Saturday morning last, large volumes of smoke were seen to issue from the roof of the fine brick residence located on 8th, between Marshall and Clay streets and occupied by Mr. John A Belvin. Owing to the extreme dry state of the weather, and the length of time before the fire engines reached the spot, the roof and upper story of the building were entirely destroyed, as well as the greater portion of the provisions and some of the furniture which was kept therein; but by the active efforts a large number of citizens who were attracted to the spot, the contents of the other parts of the house were removed to the street, and thereby saved from the devouring elements and the damaging effects of Water thrown from the engines. Mr. Belvin’s loss will not fall far short of fifty thousand dollars, as the walls and flooring to the lower stories of his house were very much damaged by the muddy water, and some of his furniture was broken and bruised in such a manner at to render it comparatively worthless. This makes the sixth time that Mr Belvin has been burnt out. The origin of the fire is not known, though it is believed that it was caused by the falling of sparks from the chimney to the roof, which was a shingle one and in a very inflammable condition.
Apprehending that the building on the right of Mr Belvin’s residence, belonging to Mr Nicholas Deverenx, was in danger of being destroyed, the furniture from his house was also removed to the street; but the sequel has proved that such a step was unnecessary, as it sustained no material damage.
The efficiency of the steam fire-engine was fully demonstrated on this, as on all other occasions where it has been used— Before its arrival the crackling flames had gained such headway as to threaten the crackling flames had gained such headway as to threaten the destruction of a large lot of valuable property, but it had not been fairly at work more than five or ten minutes before the fire was completely subdued, and people living In the neighborhood became satisfied that there was no further danger of its spreading to any other building.
A few minutes after five o'clock yesterday morning the fire bells again sounded an alarm, which proved to have been caused by the burning of some rubbish in the basement story of the residence on the corner of Leigh and 10th streets, occupied by Mrs E W Roy, a refugee from the Northern Neck of Virginia. The room in which the fire originated was filled with lumber, which had been put there by Mr A W Taylor, the owner of the property, and as it had not been unlocked and entered by any one since Mr T’s removal there is no doubt but that it was the work of an incendiary. Once before on the same night, only a few hours preceding the last alarm, the incendiary torch was applied to the basement room on the opposite side of the building, but It was extinguished in a very short time. In neither case did the fire do much damage.