MANY CRAZED INMATES ESCAPE DURING STATE ASYLUM FIRE

MANY CRAZED INMATES ESCAPE DURING STATE ASYLUM FIRE

Superintendent of Institution Ordered Release of Patients. Some With Record for Past Killing? Number of Staff Rescued Just in Time

LIGHTNING is believed to have caused the fire that destroyed the Administration Building of the Central State Hospital, an institution for the insane, at Nashville, Tenn. The fire was discovered by a watchman who was curious to know why the sky was brightly illuminated. He noticed that the top of a cupola was burning. A telephone call was sent in.

Chief F. B. Moore

The Administration Building is of brick construction with a slate roof. The central portion of the building is four stories high. An east and west wing adjoining the main building housed the patients.

The first call brought First Assistant Chief I. W. Moore and an 800-gallon pumper. Water was pumped front a nearby lake and from hydrants. The second alarm brought Chief F. B. Moore, a 1,000-gallon pumper and an aerial ladder. A number of police responded to guard the mentally diseased people.

An order was issued to release the 1,272 patients confined in the various rooms. Included in this crowd were eleven criminally insane men. The throng left the building, some laughing, some screaming and some crying. They scattered about the lawn, many scantily clad, to watch the flames. Most of them wandered off the grounds not know’ing where they were going. County and city officials patroled the roads and rounded up a large number of the wanderers.

Fire companies made the run from Nashville, nine miles away. As one company rolled into the grounds, one patient reached for the machine and swung himself aboard. Firemen recognized that no layman could make so graceful a swing. The man proved to he a former member of the Nashville Fire Department who broke under the strain of fire-fighting and was sent to the hospital for treatment.

As soon as danger from fire was believed to be over, the patients were ordered and carried back to their respective quarters. Estimates of the loss varied from $200,000 to $250,000.

Chief F. B. Moore, who had charge of the firemen, succeeds Chief Weaver as head of the Nashville Fire Department.

He was born on February 16, 1872, and was first appointed a member of the fire department on October 17, 1892. Chief Moore served until September 1, 1899, and then resigned from the service. On September 24, 1901, he rejoined the department and has been a member ever since.

In 1911 he was advanced to lieutenant and in 1916 he was promoted to captain. Mr. Moore was made assistant chief in 1920 and on March 1, 1928, he was made head of the department.

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