Macon, MO Fatal Theatre Fire, Sept 1935

Macon Chronicle-Herald, Macon, MO
Tuesday, September 16, 1935

FORREST MALONE and VIRGIL BROOKS Die at Boonville Hospital, Monday Night From Burns Received as Film Ignites.

FORREST MALONE and VIRGIL BROOKS, both former well known Macon boys died last night at the hospital in Boonville of burns received Monday about noon when film in the projection booth of the Casino Theater, owned by Mr. MALONE, became ignited from a hot soldering iron.

Mr. MALONE passed away at the hospital at 7:30 o'clock last night and Mr. BROOKS died 15 minutes later at 7:45 o'clock.

Mr. MALONE is the son of Mrs. Chas. Tull of this city. He attended the Macon High School and was a member of the 1925 graduating class. Following his high school career he spent several years in the East. His wife is a former Schenectady, N. Y., girl. Besides his wife and mother, his step-father, an aunt, Mrs. Oscar Neel of this city, his grandfather, George Malone of Kirksville and other Kirksville relatives survive. He was a nephew of Mrs. James P. Beatty of Quincy and Mrs. L. C. Allan of Wilmington, North Caroling. His body was taken to Kirksville, his birthplace, where funeral services and burial will be made. Definite funeral arrangements have not been announced here awaiting the arrival of Mrs Malone's parents from New York.

Mr. BROOKS who was employed as operator at the theater, is the son of Arnold Brooks of near Macon, a grandson of Mr. and Mrs. J. A. Brooks who reside on Sheridan street, and son-in-law of Mrs. Maude Steele. He is survived by his wife, nee Anna Dora Steele, a son Charles Jimmie, four years old, and other relatives. He was 24 years, 7 months and 17 days old.

BROOKS was formerly employed at the Dickinson Theater here and was well liked by the theater patrons. His body was brought to Macon last night to the Stephens & Gooding Funeral Home, where funeral services will be held Wednesday afternoon at 2:00 o'clock conducted by Rev. O. L. Angel, former Macon pastor, now of Elsberry, assisted by Rev. S. W. Diggers, pastor of the First Baptist Church.

The following paragraphs from the Boonville Daily News give the details of the tragedy:

Jack Malone owner of the Casino theatre; and C. V Brooks operator of the projection machines , were critically burned and several hundred dollars damage was done to the theatre and the remainder of the Knights of Pythias building at noon today when film in the projection booth became ignited from a hot soldering iron.

Film Highly Inflammable

The film a highly inflammable substance became ignited about five minutes until 12 o'clock. Brooks was able to give a slight explanation, saying that the electric soldering iron with which they were working was dropped and that the small projection room was immediately filled with white-hot flames.

The two men apparently ran out the door of the projection booth and down the short flight of stairs to the office. The alarm was given by Brooks, who broke out the window between the office and the lobby and crawled out, saying "Get Jack, He's inside."

John Hoefler who was just passing on his way home to lunch, ran to the window and saw Malone lying just inside on the floor. The entire office was ablaze. Hoefer reached in and took hold of Malone's foot to pull him toward the window, when Malone raised up and held out his hands. Hoefer, assisted by a man who has not been identified, dragged him through the window and to the sidewalk, where they began stripping him of his blazing clothing. Hoefer ran into the Walz jewelry store and asked that a doctor be called.

Meanwhile the fire alarm had been turned in and the fire truck arrived. The gas given off by the burning film made it necessary to use gas masks.

Rushed to Hospital

An ambulance arrived and Malone was rushed to the hospital. Brooks was taken to Pieper's Drug store where he was given emergency treatment awaiting the return of the ambulance, when he too, was taken to the hospital.

Malone was conscious when brought to the sidewalk. He whispered that no one remained in the building. Practically all his clothing was burned from his body, and his skin and flesh was deeply burned over his entire body.

Brooks was able to sit in a chair while a lotion was applied to his burns. His hands were the most seriously injured.

The projection booth is built of fire-proof material, which prevented the blaze from spreading rapidly to other parts of the building. All floors of the hall were filled with the acrid smoke. Water and fire damage in the theater proper is great.

Charles Virgil Brooks - Find A Grave Memorial# 51250108

Forrest Mitchell "Jack" Malone - Find A Grave Memorial# 58708659