Barkers, NC School Fire, Apr 1916


Fire Caused by Kerosene Lamp Explosion—Prof. Norman West Badly Burned—Misfortune Probably Will Close School for the Term.

Prof. Norman West, principal of the public school at Barker’s, was painfully burned about the face and the school building at that place and the residence of Mr. D. F. Kinlaw near by were burned to the ground late Thursday afternoon.

The fire started from a lamp explosion, the lamp being in the hands of Prof. West when it exploded. Mr. West was putting oil in some lamps and preparing them for use Thursday night, when the pupils of the school were to give a rehearsal of the exercises to be given at the end of the school, which was to have closed in about two weeks. One of the lamps failed to burn like it should and after it had been worked over by Prof. West he tried to light it when it exploded. The farmes{sic} quickly enveloped him, burning his face and neck vary badly. All his efforts to control the flames, which spread rapidly, proved useless and he had to leave the building through a window. From the school building the flames spread to the residence of Mr. Kinlaw. Mr. Kinlaw saved most all his furniture.

The school building was a large wood structure, formerly used for a high school. The county bought the building some three years ago and since that time it had been used for a public school building. The residence of Mr. Kinlaw was formerly used for a dormitory.

There was no insurance on the school building. Mr. Kinlaw had some insurance, but not near enough to cover his loss. The total loss is estimated at $2,000.

Mr. Kinlaw had the misfortune to lose his residence by fire about two years ago.

The school at Barker’s is a two-teacher school. Miss Lena Russ of that section was assistant teacher. It is thought the school will be discontinued as there is no available building near except the Methodist church, near by.

Robesonian, Lumberton, NC 17 Apr 1916