New Rochelle, NY Oaksmere School Fire, Feb 1914

Girls Fight School Fire.

Oaksmere Students Also Dig Engine Out of the Snow.

Special to The New York Times.

New Rochelle, N.Y., Feb. 18.-Fifty school girls of the Oaksmere School in New Rochelle fought desperately to save their recitation hall and gymnasium when it burned to-day, and were driven away only when the volunteer firemen threatened to turn the hose on them. The hall, which was a large frame building, and its contents were valued at $10,000. It was on Davenports Neck, near the mansion of Adrian Iselin.

Fire was discovered in the boiler room at 11 o’clock this morning. The girls dropped their books, and while some rushed for the chemical fire extinguishers, others ran to the beach and filled buckets of water, which they dashed into the flames. Despite their efforts the fire gained headway.

A telephone message brought the Relief engine from New Rochelle. It stalled in a snow bank a half mile from the school. When the girls heard of it some of them hitched up horses to sleighs and went with snow shovels and coal scoops to help dig out the fire engine. They shoveled a path through the drift, and some rode back on the engine.

The girls who were fighting the fire refused to leave when the firemen arrived, though there was danger of the roof falling in on them. They left only when Chief James Ross shouted that he would turn the hose on them. William Noel, a member of Relief Engine Company, and Lieutenant of the local United States life saving corps, dashed into the burning building just before the roof fell, and carried out Perry Horton, a fireman who was overcome by smoke.

Oaksmere School is attended by the daughters of wealthy men from all parts of the United States. The hall that was burned was given to the school by the alumni last year. Secretary of State Bryan addressed the graduating class there last June.

The New York Times, New York, NY 19 Feb 1914