Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Fires and School Fire Drills in Hickory, March 26, 1919

From the Hickory Daily Record, March 26, 1919

Sight Fire Damage

Fire of unknown origin yesterday afternoon in the residence of Mrs. H.D. Abernethy did considerable damage to a large clothes closet and destroyed most f the clothing of the owner and her daughter. The damage to the furnishings was about $150; that to the clothing was not estimated. There was no fire near the closet and it is supposed the blaze was due to spontaneous combustion.


Kitchen Roof Fire

Fire on the roof of the kitchen of Mrs. Raymond Robinson’s residence on Thirteenth street yesterday caused damage estimated at $2.50. The blaze must have started from a defective flue. It was the second alarm of the day.


Fire Drills Are Carried Out Well

Fire Chief Harry E. Whitener, accompanied by a group of firemen, made an unexpected visit to all of the Hickory schools this morning to test the efficiency of the fire drills that are given in each school. The south graded school was the first visited, and in 30 seconds from the call of “fire” every child in the building was in the yard. An inspection of the basement showed this building to be in perfect condition.

The north graded school was visited next, and it took 1 minute 42 seconds from the first call to empty the building. This delay was sue in large measure to the fact that one of the outside doors had been fastened back, so that when the children massed against the door they could not get it open. The lock on the door had been broken and the janitor had tied it the night before, forgetting to take the fastening off this morning. Chief Whitener gave a good lecture on the importance of preparedness, and said this experience should be a lesson to the school as well as all others in the city.

The high school scholars responded to the call of “fire” very promptly, and the building was emptied in 1 minute. The inspection of the basement was not satisfactory to the chief, and he read the riot act to the janitor had tidied it the night before old paper against a board partition near the furnace room. (?) He also took exception to the placement of an oil stove for cooking in the little room in the basement without protection of any kind in event of the stove flaming high, as oil stoves sometimes have the habit of doing.

The last call was made to the colored graded school. The principal of the school was in the basement looking after the cleaning up of that part of the building when the party arrived. Rushing up the steps and yelling fire at the top of his voice the chief came mighty near being stampeded by the rush of the colored children to get out. They got out in record time—25 seconds—and ran around the building looking to see where the smoke and flames were located.

Chief Whitener is certainly on to his job and announced his intention of testing every fire plug in the city, as he believed there were many of them that have never been opened since they were put in.
Chief Whitener announced today that fire drills will be held every week hereafter at the city schools.

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