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Poor Farm Fire 1917

Four Aged Persons Perish in Fire at County Home

Waterloo Evening Courier, March 8, 1917

Buildings at Boone County Poor Farm Wiped Out by Flames; 53 Inmates are Saved

Flue Caused the Blaze; Loss Placed at $60,000

Elderly Woman, Rescued, Goes Back After Toilet Articles, Sacrificing Her Life

Boone, Ia., March 8 - Four persons are missing and believed to be dead as the result of the fire which last night and early today destroyed the buildings at the county poor farm of Boone County, six miles south of here. Careful check of those rescued developed that four were missing, and while the bodies have not been found; it is believed certain they are dead.

Following are the names of the missing inmates:

Mrs. Fina Oberg, Pilot Mound
John Allen, Angus
Peter Peterson, Marcy Township
Unknown Becker, Ogden

Mrs. Oberg was rescued by voluntter firemen, but returned to the buildings and perished in an effort to save some toilet articles.

Caused by Flue

Officials said today a defective flue caused the fire which broke out shortly after 10 o'clock last night. The Boone fire department was called out but arrived too late to save the buildings. The loss was estimated at $60,000 of which $15,000 is covered by insurance.

The 53 inmates rescued were lodged today in the city and county jail and in private homes in Boone.

Previous Fire

Twenty-two years ago fire destroyed the county farm buildings on the same site with a loss of $18,000.