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