Orange, TX Hotel Fire, Dec 1947


Orange (AP) -- Seven persons perished in the flame-swept halls and rooms of a small hotel here last midnight while six other guests jumped from windows to safety.
Only five of the seven dead had been identified early this morning. Nineteen persons were registered but only 13 were in the hotel when the blaze broke out.
The identified dead were listed as:
JUNIOUS O. CARTER, from Pennsylvania, city not available.
W. L. JORDON, 41, Tampa, Fla.
BILL DOUGLAS, 35, address unknown.
RALPH SLADE, 72, and EARLY GISLER, 43, both of Orange.
The body of a man and a woman had not been identified early this morning.
Three of the bodies were found in halls and four in rooms. All were in sleeping garments.
Assistant Fire Chief E. L. BARKER, president of the Orange Volunteer Fire Company, said one of the seven was found alive by firemen but died on the way to a hospital. He estimated damage to the building and furnishings at $50,000.
The flames were first seen shortly before midnight by a taxi driver, LEON HARRIS, and the hotel was "all ablaze" when firemen arrived, BARKER said.
Nineteen persons were said to have been living in the hotel by MRS. LISKA SIKES, the owner, but BARKER said a complete search after the fire satisfied him there were no other bodies in the burned building.
Smoke and screams awakened some guests and one, L. A. BLESSITT, leaped from a window to the roof of an adjoining building.
BLESSITT said he was awakened by smoke and heard a man scream. He said he threw his clothing out the window onto the roof of the building, then jumped.
Another guest, CECIL A. RAINES, said he was awakened by a woman pounding on his door. He did not know if the unidentified woman made her way to safety.
The hotel occupied the top floor of a two-story building with several small business concerns on the street level.
BARKER said none of the dead were badly burned and indicated death was by suffocation.

The Paris News Texas 1947-12-26