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Ready to roll from Springfield Fire Headquarters on North Fountain Avenue

Thursday, November 10, 2016

LIMA - 1929

The Lima News - Jan. 7,1929

Valuable Records Destroyed When Floors of Building Fall; Others Saved by Volunteers; Outside Help Responds
Two Lima firemen were killed and the Allen County courthouse damaged to the extent of more than $100,000 in a fire that started at 10 a. m. Monday and appeared to be of little consequence until part of the roof collapsed, carrying two men to death. At 1:15 p.m. it was announced the fire was under control.
The dead:
John Wolfe, 45, captain of No. 5 department.
John Fisher, 29, hoseman at No. 1 station.
The injured:
Hod Murray, Bluffton. Severe bruises about legs and body. Condition not serious.
Wolfe and Fisher were working under the dome of the courthouse when the roof collapsed, carrying them to the floor below and burying them under tons of debris. Four other firemen, including Chief Mack and Frank Kinzer had been working on the same floor until a few moments before the crash. Two firemen left on other duty and Chief Mack departed to make a round of inspection. Kizer just reached the door as the roof fell.
Murray was injured when he feared being overcome by smoke and slid down a rope from the third floor of the recorder's office. He landed so hard that he suffered injuries requiring treatment at City hospital where it was said his condition is not serious.
When the fire was first discovered it w as not regarded as serious and it was not until a half hour after the first alarm that the flames took on a serious aspect. Chief Mack turned in a second alarm as a precautionary measure. The fire started on the third floor in the room of the court of appeals. Its origin has not been determined.
Firemen John Wolfe and John Fisher, who lost their lives, both supported families. Wolfe was married and had children. Fisher was the support of his mother and other relatives. It is customary that communities show their appreciation of the heroic services of such men when they die in line of duty. The Lima News feels that such appreciation should be shown in this connection and believes a fund should be raised. To start it, The News subscribes $50. Subscriptions will be received by The News and divided equally between the widow and mother of the two dead men. Fuller details will be printed Tuesday.
Mrs. Wolfe, wife of one of the men who was carried to death with the collapse of the roof, learned of the tragedy at her house and hurried to the fire where she pleaded with the firemen to do something to bring out her husband. She was hysterical from grief.
As Chief Mach was making his definite statement that two of his firemen, John Wolfe and John Fisher, had lost their lives in the fire, the faithful old courthouse clock which has given the times to Lima for many, many years, its face shrouded in smoke from the burning ruins of the county's capitol, boomed out the hour of twelve, as tho sounding the requiem for the brave firemen who had given their lives.
The fire was discovered by Lewis F. Bitters and Don Slechter, who were passing the courthouse and discovered smoke issuing from the top floor. They went to the office of the surveyor and the fire department was called.


Photo: WDTN
Neighbors raised a ladder to help two people escape a house fire on East Northern Avenue in Springfield on Feb. 28, 2016. They were "
we’re very fortunate under the circumstances," Battalion Chief Pat Casey told WDTN television. Resident Michael Bertram said: “If it wasn’t for the neighbors over here, we would have been dead.”