Missoula, MT Fire Destroys Historic Hotel, Sep 1936

Florence Hotel Before the Fire Florence Hotel Remains Florence Hotel rebuilt

FORMER GRID STAR IS HERO OF HOTEL FIRE.

MISSOULA, MONT., BLAZE THREATENS THE GOPHERS.

Missoula, Mont., Sept. 24 -- (UP) -- BERT BASTON, one-time all-American grid star and end coach of University of Minnesota's football team, today was the hero of an early morning hotel fire which drove the Gopher squad in to the streets.
The blaze swept through the four-story, 125-room Florence hotel where the Gophers, enroute to Seattle to meet the University of Washington Saturday, were stopping.
Several business establishments in the hotel building were destroyed. Damage was estimated unofficially at $500,000.
BASTON searched through the burning smoke-filled rooms for two members of the Minnesota team who were at first thought trapped in the fire. Blinded and nearly overcome by smoke he finally was forced back into the street. Later it was discovered the youths he sought to rescue, FRANK WARNER of Minneapolis and MIKE WILESEVICH of St. Paul, were safe.
When the fire was discovered the Gopher squad, coaches and trainers, fled to the street along with the other guests. Many did not have time to don street clothes and stood shivering in the near freezing temperature as the flames gained headway.
When the Minnesota roster was checked it was discovered that WARNER and MILESEVICH were not present. It was then BASTON rushed past firemen into the building.

Jefferson City Post-Tribune Missouri 1936-09-24