Gladys Powell Burned to Death

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The Fort Dodge Daily Chronicle: Sept. 23, 1910

Gladys Powell Burned to Death

Young Girl Meets With Fatal Accident On Thursday Evening

Fell Down Cellar Stairs While Carrying Lamp

Clothing Was Completely Burned From Her Body and Death Resulted Seven Hours Later

Miss Gladys Powell, aged between sixteen and seventeen years, and who resided at 326 South Fifth street, received burns on Thursday evening about seven o’clock which resulted in her death at St. Joseph’s Mercy Hospital about seven hours later.

Fell Down Cellar Stairs

The family were eating their evening meal in their  home when the daughter had occasion to visit the cellar, carrying a kerosene lamp to light her way. In some unaccountable manner she tripped and fell, and her clothing was set on fire from the lamp, according to members of the city fire department who made an investigation of the case. the mother rushed to the assistance of the young woman and was herself painfully burned about the arms and face, while attempting to rescue the young woman.

Clothing Burned Off

The young lady was gowned in light fabrics and for this reason the flames took rapid hold, all her clothing being burned from her body, with the exception of about one inch of one stocking and her entire body with the exception of the waist, which was given some protection by the corset, was one immense blister as a result of the burns.

An alarm of fire was turned in from Box 43, and the central fire department responded in record time. The emergency case carried on the fire wagon was pressed into service and Chief Trusty did all in his power to relieve the suffering of the young lady until two physicians who had been summoned had arrived. The physicians gave additional needed medical attention and the young woman whom it as seen was fatally burned, and mother who was painfully burned, were then taken to St. Joseph’s Mercy Hospital. The young woman passed away about one o’clock this morning as a result of her burns, and while the mother will be confined at the hospital for some time it is not believed she will suffer permanent disfigurement.

Although the accident was of the most serious nature, and resulted fatally to Miss Gladys Powell, the house was not damaged in the least, and members of the fire department for this reason were able to give all of their attention to the relieving of the suffering of the young woman until the arrival of the physicians. Chief Trusty speaks in the highest terms of praise of the emergency case which has been prepared for the city fire department by Dr. C.H. Mulroney, city health officer, and which is carried at all times on the h ose wagon sent out from the central fire station.

No Inquest Necessary

Coroner J.D. Lowry stated this afternoon it would not be necessary to hold an inquest to inquire into the death of the  young woman.

(Editor’s note: Besides the sensational nature of this article, with graphic details about the extent of the young woman’s injuries, I did see something quite interesting. It mentions an emergency case prepared by the city’s health officer, Dr. Mulroney. It sounds like an early version of what paramedics take out on calls.)

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