Garage Fire Takes Thirteen Lives
A flimsy, two-story wooden structure used as an eighteen-room rooming house and with the added hazard of a garage on the first floor took toll of thirty lives in a fire in the Armourdale district of Kansas City, Kan., on February 23, according to an account furnished by Chief John McNarrey, of the fire department. The building seems to have been a veritable fire trap and Chief McNarrey feels that the inmates of the building w h o lost their lives were all dead before the alarm was received, as the structure was comp 1 e t e I y in flames when the nearest hose company came out of their quarters. One reason for the great loss of life was the unusual construction of the stairways, which led up to the center corridor on the second floor at each end and at the head oi these stairs the corridors branched in four directions, lersons blinded bv the smoke, which rolled in from the west side of the building, could easily have passed by the head oi the stairs, in attempting to escape and on into the burning portion. 1 his is probably what happened to several oi them. 1 he building was built entirely of wood and collapsed within fifteen minutes after the fire started, the piling up material making the fighting of the fire beneath the timbers difficult. The firemen concentrated their streams on the piles of wood where the entrance to the second floor had been, extinguishing the flames there first to permit access by chopping through in their search for bodies. Three bodies were found at this spot. Caught in the darkness and smoke, with the exits in the stairways cut off by the flames and with the building crumbling rapidly, the unfortunate occupants had little chance to save themselves. The few that did escape ran down the stairs before the fire had cut them off. The fire department under Chief McNarrey had 39 men in service with one Metropolitan steamer, four I homas hose cars, one Thomas hook and ladder truck and one Thomas pumper. There were five six-inch double hydrants available from 300 to 500 feet apart with a pressure of 100 pounds at the hydrant. Six hydrant and one engine streams were thrown, with nozzles of 7/8 and 1 1/8 inch. In all 4,300 feet of hose was laid. The loss on building and contents was about $15,000, being total.