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Joseph Clark House Fire - 1913


Posted By: Christine Clark (email)
Date: 6/3/2008 at 14:44:17

Article taken from the Evening Gazette; Cedar Rapids, IA
Thursday; March 20, 1913

Charred Bodies of Children Removed

Mother of Little Ones Who Perished in Fire, Dies Short Time Later

Belmond, Iowa, March 20 – Three charred bodies of little children were taken from the ruins of the home of Joseph Clark, by firemen who pulled down the walls of the fire-gutted structure, yesterday morning.

Mrs. Joseph Clark, mother of the children, crazed by the burns she received before she could be rescued from her burning home, died within a few hours after the children’s bodies had been buried.

Mr. Clark is the only one of the family of five who escaped. He is a laborer, and he was working Tuesday afternoon when the fire broke out. He did not know the destruction of his family until the fire had been controlled.

The burned and blackened body of the two-year-old baby was found by firemen, in what had not been burned of the bed in which it had been sleeping. The remains of the four-year-old baby lay over a trunk which it had tried to pass in an attempt to reach a window and air. The six-year-old child had reached the basement of the house before it had succumbed to the flames.

The cause of the fire, and the reason for its almost instantaneous spread to all parts of the house, are not known. Firemen believe Mrs. Clark was fixing the fire. The heating stove exploded when she opened the door, according to the theory, and she was rendered unconscious by the fall. Flames from the coal stove caused the gasoline stove at the other side of the room to explode simultaneously.

The small frame structure was blazing on all sides within a few minutes after the blaze broke out. Mrs. Clark had regained consciousness when firemen broke into the smoke-filled parlor and carried her out. She pleaded that her children be rescued, but they could not be reached through the flames.


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