Five Firemen Killed by Wall Crash
Five firemen of Columbus, Ohio, were killed, and seven others were seriously injured when a wall crashed as the department was fighting a fire in the I.O.O.F. Building during sub-zero weather.
The fire was discovered by a barber in the building, who detected the odor of smoke. The first alarm was turned in at 12:43 a.m., the second at 12:49 and the third at 1 a.m. Two calls for additional men and equipment were made at 1:21 and 1:53 a.m.
All high tension and trolley wires were cut when they became heavily coated with ice and they were in danger of snapping.
The men killed and injured were on a fire escape on a rear wall of the building, when without any warning, the wall collapsed, carrying the men to an areaway. It was necessary to cut away steel structural members to remove the trapped and dead. Ice cakes five feet thick formed on the sidewalk as the water cascaded from the building.
Due to the shortage of police and firemen, members of the street cleaning department and city prison trusties were mustered to clean up the debris.
No one knows just how the fire started, although Chief Welch believes that it may have been caused by defective wiring.