Child Suffocated at Fire

by Laurel | February 3rd, 2012

03 February 1899

The two year old child of Mr. and Mrs. John Johnston, who live at 87 Center Street, was suffocated by smoke at a fire at that place about 10:30 o’clock yesterday forenoon. The origin of the fire is something of a mystery, as both parents were absent, Mr. Johnston being at work and Mrs. Johnston making a call. Chief Lynch believes that the fire was started by ashes in a closet, but the father denies that hot ashes were put in that place. The fire had gained considerable headway when the alarm was sent in by a neighbor, and on the arrival of Chief Lynch a second alarm was sent in. After vigorous work the fire was got under control. In the rear of the block, which was owned by J. A. Peltier, are several wooden buildings that are not considered with favor by the fire department, but these were not touched. A feature of the fire was the daring rescue of the body of the little Johnston boy by Chief Riley of the ladder truck. Mrs. Johnston was nearly insane with fright, and on being apprised that a child was in the burning tenement Riley made his way into the room, and by crawling on the floor managed to read the boy, who was lying on the floor where he had fallen, overcome with the smoke. It was thought that the child showed signs of life, but he died before Dr. C. H. Curran, who was summoned, could reach him. There was about $10,000 insurance on the building through the H. D. Buzzee and E. C. Clark agencies. The damage to the floors below will be principally by water. The building was a four story brick structure, and in the basement there was a store run by the owner of the block, J. A. Peltier. The Johnstons lost all of their household furniture, valued at $700, with no insurance. The alarm was sent in from box3, but through some mistake the box bounded 34 and misled the fire department, so that part of it answered the box on Maple Street.

From The Springfield Republican.

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