Detroit, MI Orphanage Fire, Aug 1945

Five Perish, 120 Are Rescued In Orphanage Fire

Explosion Precedes Blaze In Detroit Institution Sunday

Detroit, Aug. 6 – (AP) – Five persons, including seven-year-old twin brothers, lost their loves and another inmate was in critical condition after a Sunday night explosion and fire at a Detroit orphanage and old people’s home.
More than 120 other persons were led or carried to safety by orphanage employes (sic) and firemen.
Police identified the dead as: Albert and Alfred CADE, seven; Christine LENTH, 80, Elizabeth BERCH, 82, and Ida ALBRECHT, 85.

Receiving hospital authorities listed the critically injured as Helene KREUTZ, 90 who is suffering from shock and smoke inhalation.
Inspector George W. Smith of the Detroit fire department arson squad said the blaze broke out in the basement laundry of the Evangelical home for orphans and old people, which is on West Grand boulevard.

He quoted one of the boys at the orphanage as saying that several had been playing with matches in the vicinity of a barrel of inflammable liquid.

Mrs. Esther KOCH, supervisor of younger boys, told police that she heard an explosion and a few moments later saw two boys, identified as the Cades, rush from the basement with their clothing afire.

Mrs. KOCH grabbed one and extinguished the flames, while George BOTHE, supervisor of older boys, did the same with the second boy.

By this time, smoke was seeping through the corridors of the institution, creating a minor panic among the children and elderly inmates, many of the latter being bed ridden.

Firemen responding to three alarms joined in the rescue work and then confined the blaze to the basement of the home.

News-Palladium, Benton Harbor, MI 6 Aug 1945

Comments

Hi Bob, my name is Robert

Hi Bob, my name is Robert Elliott. My two brothers (Dennis & Norman) and I lived at both the old and new homes and were there during the old home fire. I’ve been working on some Genealogy stuff and saw your name on this website. We have some Kirks in our family tree (Charles & Lillian) and wondered if you were one of their children. Lillian was one of my mother’s sisters (Martha). If we are related, it would be nice to exchange some information on our families.

Thanks, Bob E.

orphanage Fire

Hi Bob, my name is Robert Elliott. My two brothers (Dennis & Norman) and I lived at both the old and new homes and were there during the old home fire. I’ve been working on some Genealogy stuff and saw your name on this website. We have some Kirks in our family tree (Charles & Lillian) and wondered if you were one of their children. Lillian was one of my mother’s sisters (Martha). If we are related, it would be nice to exchange some information on our families.

Thanks, Bob E.

Re: pictures of kids at the Evangelical Home

Hi, you said you have photos of some kids at the Evangelical Home. Can you send me what you have. My brother's and I were there too. Thank you David.

evangelical home

My brother Norman and I were at the "new" evangelical home on outer drive. We went there in 1952 and stayed there till 1957 when they opened the new cottages and they were downsizing people. I did not have good memories of this place either. The singular exception was an assistant housemother by the name of Delores Simon. She was like an angel for our sanity. I remember several kids there; Normie Mitchell who later went on to Childrens Village in Oakland County. I have wanted to contact her for many years but have been unsuccessful. I wish that there was some roster of the kids that were there then. I remember dennis and danny bradford. Larry La Coss and two of his brothers. House mothers, Alice Blackburn and Mrs Taylor. The pastor was Reverend Kuhlmann. Some other kids there were darlene Nieman, leslie edge, jimmy warpup and his sister starr. It would be really nice if someone could get information on the kids that were there. Maybe even from Evangelical Home organization. If you or anyone you know has any further info, please contact me, it would be greatly appreciated. Or any pictures. Thanks....

question

Hi I am looking for information on my grandfather. Can you tell me if you remember a kid named Felix Machinski!? If so I would love to know more about him

Orphanage Info

Hi,
I believe my mother and Uncle were there around that time. There names were Patricia and George Wallace. I have a photo of them with several other kids if anyone is interested. I'd also be interested in seeing any photos you might have.
Thanks,
David Oshinsky

ORPHANAGE FIRE / ROBILLARD

Hi Marilyn! I read your post above and was wondering if you knew the Robillard children - Diane, Sharon and a younger brother. I was told the younger brother died in the orphanage fire, but not sure this is the same one; however, I cannot locate a different orphanage fire in Detroit and this fits the time frame. Diane and Sharon were adopted at ages 9 and 10 respectively in about 1948-1949.

I appreciate your help.

Regards,

Erin Donnelly

Orphan's Home Fire

I too was in the orphanage when it had the fire. I was standing on the top stairwell that leads to the basement and the playground. It was a Sunday evening and my mother was saying goodbye to us kids (Ken, Betty, Ron, Ruby and myself). I saw each twin ablaze. One was coming down the long corridor that passes the dining room and the other twin was coming up the basement stairs. As a 12 year old, that picture has forever been embedded in my memory. I have several pictures that were in the newspapers. One of the sandbox with the boys in it and one of Shirley Kerhis (spelling?) holding one of the smaller children. I think it may be Janet Cade. I'll have to dig the pictures out. Let me know if you ever got the pictures from Roy Patterson. I do not remember him or you, but I do remember the Barber brothers. I will be glad to make copies for you. Several years ago, my brother Ken and I started a list of the kids that were in the orphanage when we were there. Sadly, Ken passed away and we never finished the list. I was there from July 1941 to when they moved us to the new orphanage on 6700 W. Outer Drive. I was only in the new home for about a year. My father placed me in a young couples home to be their live in babysitter, housekeeper etc. All at the tender age of 13.

Marilyn Channell

Fire in Orphan's Home (sandbox picture)

Hi Roy

I was in that home from 1945 to 1949, along with my younger sister and older brother. I think I was one of the kids standing in that sandbox (people have told me, I haven't actually seen the picture).

I would love to see the picture. Would it be possible to email a copy to me. The three of us would be very grateful.

Thank you

Bob Kirk

evangelical home fire 1945

i have a copy of the sand box picture.