Richmond, Indiana newspaper clipping; The Richmond Item; Page 1; 10-24-1924; More from this article below.
Lindley Hall was built in 1887, at a cost of $125,000. The building loss at the time of the fire, was estimated at $250,000. The cost to replace the building was estimated at $340,000.
Lindley Hall Postcard Photos, Earlham College, Richmond Indiana c: 1917
THE LINDLEY HALL FIRE OF 1924
October 24, 1924; (Friday morning edition) A fire was discovered shortly after midnight (on 10-23-1924) at Lindley Hall (Administration & Main Recitation Building at Earlham College & the Joseph Moore Museum) by M.J. Stafford, night watchman. He turned in the alarm from the box on the campus, and his cries summoned Wilson Miller and a companion who were working in Earlham Hall. (Miller also turned in an alarm). Chief Miller later stated the alarm was sounded at the main fire station at 12:20 am. The fire department was on the scene until about 11:00 am that day.
*Chief Ed. Miller’s Comments.
*”When we arrived the flames were shooting out of the building,” Fire Chief Miller said. “We had no chance to save the building. I have no idea what caused it. The story of the watchman is the only thing we have to work on.” It is expected that every effort will be made to run down the theory that the blaze might have been of incendiary nature.
All Fire equipment in the city was rushed to the scene but the headway already gained made it impossible to save the building. Hose lines were laid and firemen battled valiantly to gain the upper hand. Attempts to save contents of the building were blocked at 1:25 o’clock when the second floor collapsed. Tottering walls and falling debris made work close to the walls dangerous. With the exception of college records from the offices, a few pieces from the museum and ofice equipment hauled from the burning building by students, who disregarded shouted warnings by firemen and braved the terrific heat, little was saved.
Students, awakened from their slumbers in the dormitories and rushing to the scene half-clad, broke through the fire lines, plunged into the burning building and rescued valuable records from the office of President David M. Edwards and from that of the registrar. All records of value were removed, President Edwards said. Only two articles were removed from the museum. One was the Great Fossil Beaver, the only complete specimen of the species in the world. The other was an Egyptian mummy.
*Fire Chief Miller, smoke-be-grimed and weary with the hours long battle, said at 4 o’clock this morning, any hope of saving even a portion of the Joseph Moore Museumin Lindley Hall was abandoned. The walls of the building were falling. In piece by piece, removing any chance that the museum could be saved from utter destruction along with the rest of the building, and that he had discovered no solution to the origin of the blaze. The story of the watchman so far offers the only clue.
The valiant firemen, despite the pall which overhung the scene as a result of the death of one and injury to another of their mates, fought on to confine the loss to Lindley Hall alone. One fireman was killed by falling timbers, another injured. and Lindley Hall, administration and main recitation building at Earlham college, was destroyed by fire of unknown origin, early today.
William M. (Bill) Kenney, member of No. one hose company, received fatal injuries when a falling timber struck him on the head. He was rushed to Reid Memorial Hospital but died enroute. Kenney was stationed on a hose line with companions who were trying to save the museum at the rear of the main building. He was caught under a mass of falling timbers and debris. Other firemen pulled him out of the wreckage. Coroner Bond, notified of the death of Kenney, announced he would conduct an investigation today. Kenney, it was believed, suffered a fractured skull. Mr. Kenney lived at 223 North 18th Street. He survived by his widow and five children. The body was removed to the parlors of Klute & Smith.
October 25, 1925; Coroner S. Edgar Bond, who conducted the inquest in the Kenney case yesterday, stated last night that the fireman died instantly. His head was crushed by the falling debris. He was taken to Reid Memorial hospital when companions believed that there was a spark of his life left. Any thought that the Lindley Hall blaze was of incendiary origin has been abandoned by college officials. The college had no enemies and there is no evidence available to support such a theory.
October 24, 1924; Fireman Kinney was previously injured in the substantial blaze that occurred at the State Hospital in 1921. He had never fully recovered from the injuries he received in that fire. While he was at home with the wounds that prevented active service, he was ill at-ease, Mrs. Kenney says, wanting to be with the “boys” ready to climb on the trucks and battle the common enemy—fire. He joined the department April 11, 1911 and was a driver on the night shift with the No. one company. Kenney is the first fireman to lose his life since the city department was organized in 1871, Chief Miller said records reveal. The only other fireman to pay the supreme penalty was Philip Riley, member of old number three volunteer company. He was killed 65 years ago.
“Yes, there is some comfort in knowing he was a brave man and never shirked his duty,” said Mrs. Anna Kenney, near prostration in her grief and under the care of a physician.
October 25, 1924; NOTICE MOOSE; All brothers are requested to be at hall at 7:30 Friday evening to attend funeral of Brother William Kenney; O.E. Moss, Dictator.
William M. (Bill) Kenney
Fireman Webster Marshall, also of No. one company, suffered injuries when struck by a timber as he labored near the outside walls of the building. He was caught under the same crush of debris that fatally injured William Kenney. He suffered bruises and cuts and was unconscious for a time. The full extent of his injuries was not learned.
October 25, 1924; From the mass of colored happenings in connection with the Lindley Hall fire yesterday, one outstanding feat of heroism came to light. Webster Marshall, member of No. one hose company, although painfully injured by falling debris which caused the death of his companion, William Kenney, refused to stay away from the scene after he had received medical attention, and demanded that Moody Lamb, who drove him to a physician, take him back to the line of duty. Marshall was ordered to his home by Chief Miller when he reported back to the fire. His fearlessness and spirit drew commendation from every quarter.
Chief Ed. Miller Knocked Down From The Same Falling Debris That Killed Kenney & Injured Marshall.
October 25, 1924; Chief Ed. E. Miller, who with Kenney, Marshall, Everett Ogborn and Elmer Keller, all of No. one company, was fighting to save the rear of the building which housed the museum, narrowly escaped death in the crash that caught the two firemen. He was knocked down and attributed his escape to the heavy steel helmet which he wore. He dragged Marshall from the debris and assisted in pulling Kenney out. A shower of brick and timbers made the rescue work doubly hazardous.
The loss is estimated at nearly $250,000. One of the principal items in the loss, aside from the building, was the Joseph Moore Museum, considered one of the finest of its kind in the country. Its value could not be estimated. The building itself cost $125,000. Insurance on the building alone was between $80,000 and $90,000. The contents were not insured.
October 25, 1924; Dr. Allen D. Hale; States much of Joseph Moore museum collection can be salvaged.
A resolution of regret at the death of William Kenney, city fireman who was killed by falling timbers early Thursday was passed by the faculty and student body at a mass meeting in Trueblood indoor field. Dr. David M. Edwards, president of the college personally delivered the written resolution to the family, Thursday afternoon. President Edwards praised Fire Chief E. E. Miller and his department for their work in confining the flames to the administration building.
This is #2 of a 6 part series
Richmond Fire Department Casualties* 1) Philip Riley (Vol. Dept) 1860; Death resulted from fall * 2) William M. Kenney (RFD) 1924; Death resulted from falling timbers * 3) Chief Edgar E. Miller (RFD) 1931; Death resulted from smoke asphyxiation * 4) Assistant Chief Earl H. Miller (RFD, son of Chief Ed Miller) 1943; Death resulted from smoke asphyxiation * 5) Lawrence (Red) Ghearing (RFD) 1948; Death resulted from fire extinguisher explosion *** This Roll of Honor was published in the Richmond Item; October 24, 1924. Fireman Kenney and Officer Hennigarboth died within the same 24 hour period. Motorcycle Policeman Hennigar died 10-22-1924 and Fireman Kenney, 10-23-1924. ** Fireman Philip Riley died in 1860. ***