The Servant Girl Saves Bad Fire

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The Fort Dodge Messenger: May 31, 1905

The Servant Girl Saves Bad Fire

Sevant (sic) Girl Had Lit Gasoline to Hurry Breakfast When Tank Caught the Fire – Called for Help and Then Threw Blazing Thing Out.

Fire broke out at the A.C. Heath residence between Eighth and Ninth streets on Second avenue south at 6:30 this morning and only for the prompt and heroic action of Wendella Johnson, the serving maid, the blaze would have been a very serious one. As it was the damage will amount to $200 or $300. It is fully covered by insurance, however. It was the same old story of gasoline stove explosion.

The family had risen at about six o’clock and at the time the fire started Mr. heath was at the barn at the back of the lot. The girl, Wendella Johnson, already had a fire in the kitchen range, but in order to hurry the breakfast, concluded to light the gasoline stove.

She had no more than started it going when the tank caught fire. She rushed to the door and called on Mr. Heath, but did not wait for him. With her clothing on fire, she grasped the blazing tank and carried it to the door, where she attempted to throw it off the porch. Owing to the fact that it was enclosed with lattice work however, she was unable to do this and dropped it on the floor.

In spite of the fact that her clothing was on fire while she carried the burning tank, she escaped injury almost entirely, receiving but a few slight burns on her hands.

It was not more than five minutes after the alarm had been turned in to the department till the whole rear of the building was a blaze, and the porch was badly burned. Owing, however, to the fact that the fire was all on the outside, the department had little difficulty in checking it and aside form the porch which is a wreck, and the siding, little damage was done (to) the house itself.

The furnishings of the residence escaped the usual soaking that results from the ordinary fire and aside from the fact that they were pretty badly smoked, there was very little damage done inside the house. The repairs will be made at once.

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