Bad Blaze at Newark, Ohio.
What would undoubtedly have been one of the fire tragedies of the last ten years occurred at Newark, Ohio, on June 17, when the theatre in the Memorial auditorium was burned. The building is one of the worst fire traps in the city, consisting—to quote Chief Bausch—of “four large brick walls with several carloads of cheap pine lumber between them.” The fire occurred at 1:45 a. m. Up to 10:30 the previous night the theatre was jammed with a record audience witnessing a performance given by three hundred and fifty school children in honor of the G. A. R. veterans. The origin of the fire is unknown, but it is thought that a careless smoker in the gallery is responsible. The only means of communication between the crowded gallery and the main auditorium—a dark, narrow passageway—was entirely burned out; a striking feature of the disastrous possibilities of the tire. Led by Chief Rausch, Assistant Chief Foley, and others, the men of the North, East and West End departments did most commendable work. There were three strata of flames, the main floor and the two galleries. That this combination was successfully combatted is a tribute to both the leadership and the steady nerve of the Newark firemen. Four lines of hose were run in through doors and up tire escapes, but it was not until r> o’clock that sufficient water was poured in to entirely extinguish the flames. Manager Harris named $15,000 as a conservative estimate of the loss; but Chief Rausch put the figure at $5,000. Outside of the fire damage to the theatre proper, smoke and water caused some loss to the public library and to the headquarters of Lembert Post, G. A. R.. which are situated in the building. It is probable that the repairs to the theatre will include remodelling along lines of greater safety. Although the auditorium has been on the firemen’s “black list” since it was built, this is the first real blaze that has occurred there.