Lynchburg, VA Transient Bureau Fire, Mar 1934
14 DEAD, 80 HURT IN LYNCHBURG, VA., FIRE.
TRANSIENT BUREAU SWEPT BY FLAMES.
GREASE BOILING OVER ON HOT STOVE BLAMED FOR TRAGEDY.
TRAPPED IN BEDS -- MANY INJURED AS THEY JUMP FROM SECOND STORY WINDOWS.
Lynchburg, Va., March 24 (AP) -- Fourteen persons were burned to death and at least 80 others were injured in a fire that swept the federal transient bureau here shortly before dawn today.
Three of the dead were negroes and the rest white.
The bodies, some of them charred apparently beyond hope of recognition, were carried to Lynchburg undertaking establishments while the injured were carried to two hospitals in every available ambulance, hearst, truck and private car.
One hospital where 70 patients had been admitted reported that possibly one-third of them were seriously burned, although the full extent of the injuries had not been determined several hours after the tragedy.
Seventy of the victims approximately half of them white and the rest negroes were taken to Lynchburg Hospital in every conveyance available and 14 negroes were carried to Virginia Baptist Hospital. Power facilities were cut off at Memorial Hospital by the fire and this institution was unable to help in the emergency treatment.
Grease boiling over on a hot stove was blamed for the fire -- the worst remembered in Lynchburg's history. WILLIAM RASH, the cook, said he had begun preparing breakfast for the estimated 200 occupants of the building when the grease boiled over on the stove and quickly set fire to the building.
RASH said the grease from which he was to have made gravy was in a five-gallon kettle. It blazed up upon touching the hot surface of the stove. Immediately the kettle was in a blaze and the fire, shooting upward, ignited the wooden ceiling.
The cook said he grabbed a bucket of water and dashed it on the blaze. This did no good. He then emptied two fire extinguishers without effect.
Meanwhile RASH'S assistant C. H. FIZER and the night watchman, JAMES WEBB, turned in the alarm.
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