Wilmington, DE Clothing Store Fire, Dec 1958


Wilmington, Del., Dec. 23. -- (AP) -- A fire that started in a snowman costume worn by a 17-year-old youth spread through a downtown clothing store and killed an 84-year-old optometrist.
The boy, DAVID BAISE, was reported n critical condition.
He was employed by the People's Credit Clothing Store and was wearing the costume as part of a Christmas promotion program.
While standing outside the store Monday afternoon he lit a cigarette. Moments later the costume was ablaze and he was rushing through the store screaming for help.
Sparks from the costume started fires in piles of clothing and Christmas decorations. The blaze caused an estimated $100,000 damage to the store and sent thick smoke into second floor offices and an apartment on the third floor of the building.
Owners of the store estimated the damage.
Firemen found the optometrist, DR. HENRY POLLARD, lying unconscious in his office on the second floor.
An attendant at a nearby service station smothered the flames in the boy's suit but nt before DAVID had suffered second and third degree burns over 60 per cent of his body.

Salt Lake Tribune Utah 1958-12-24