Seneca, IL Fire Destroys Grandstand, July 1912



Chemical Can Explodes and Knocks Down Lee Wescott--Two Other Fires Occur in Seneca.

Seneca, Ill., July 18 - The grandstand at the Seneca Driving park was destroyed by fire at about 5:30 o'clock Tuesday afternoon. The loss is estimated at $800. There was no insurance.

It is reported that two strangers were seen on the racetrack grounds shortly before the fire and it is believed that they either intentionally or accidentally started the blaze.

The fire was first noticed by Walter Welsh, day man at the interurban sub-station, who gave the alarm. The volunteer fire department responded promptly, but the flames had gained much headway that it was useless to attempt to extinguish them.

The one accident at the fire was the explosion of a chemical fire extinguisher in the hands of Lee Westcott. He was using the extinguisher in trying to save the judges' stand, when the top of the chemical can blew out, knocking him to the ground. It was first thought he was badly injured and Dr. Gano, who was in the crowd, was summoned. He was only stunned, however, and was able to walk down town.

Before the firemen had returned from the race track blaze there were two other fire calls and the fire fighters had more than they could attend to for awhile. One of the fires was in a barn in the rear of the Whittaker residence on Main street and the other was in a shed at the home of Mrs. Biind. Both are believed to have been caused by sparks from the burning grandstand. The damage resulting from the latter two fires was only slight.

Morris Daily Herald 1912-07-18