University Place, NE Exploding Gasoline Causes House Fire, Jan 1912

Wage Battle With Flaming Gasoline

Mother and Daughter Painfully Burned Trying to Conquer Fire Following an Explosion.

Heroically fighting flames thrown about a hall way by the exploding of a bucket of gasoline, which ignited their clothing, Mrs. T.P. Lewis and her daughter, Mabel, saved themselves from being fearfully burned this morning at 9 o’clock at their home at 123 West Nineteenth Street, University Place. The mother escaped with painful burns about her head, arms and feet. The daughter’s skirt was almost burned from her body, but she escaped with less serious burns than her mother. Mrs. Lewis received her most painful hurts when assisting to put out the blazing garments of the girl. Neither is in a serious condition, though the mother is suffering considerably from the shock.

Most of their furniture was destroyed and the house damage to the extent of several hundred dollars. Mrs. Lewis and her daughter are now at the home of Mrs. C.J. Barnes, where they were attended by a physician.

At the time of the explosion Mrs. Lewis was rinsing a garment in a bucket of gasoline in the front hallway of the house. The fluid ignited from a furnace register throwing the burning oil over the room. The mother and daughter were alone in the house at the time. Mrs. Lewis rushed into the dining room and screamed for her daughter to bring a rug. With this they tried to smother out the flames. Finding that they could not cope with the burning oil, which was shooting from the bucket in every direction, the daughter tried to open the front door. It was locked. While she struggled to get it open the mother, her slippers and skirt aflame dashed into her front room and shattered a large window glass with her feet. She threw her burning slippers off, smothered the flames in her dress and climbed through the window.

Her daughter by this time had succeeded in getting the door open. She grabbed the pail of burning gasoline and tried to take it from the hall. Her shirt took fire, and she was forced to drop the bucket. Screaming with fright she ran out upon the porch, where she and her mother, with their bare hands, smothered the flames after her skirt had been almost burned from her body. Mrs. Lewis staggered to the Barns home, next door, and fell upon the porch. Mrs. Barns said she knew nothing of the trouble they were having until she heard the screaming, and on going to the door saw Mrs. Lewis fall upon the porch.

The fire department had a hard battle in overcoming the fire with a possible loss of $1,200 or $1,500. Mr. Lewis was in Lincoln at the time of the fire.

Lincoln Evening News, Lincoln, NE 6 Jan 1912