$40,000 Fire Sweeps Warsaw
No One Seriously Injured in Blaze
Covington Fireman Slightly Hurt in Fall Through Skylight
Water Supply Adequate
Warsaw was the scene Sunday nite of its most disastrous fire in eight years when film caught on fire in the projection room of the Warsaw Theatre shortly before 10 p.m. The highly flammable film broke where it had been spliced, and one end was caught in the carbon arc. Wilson fought the fire desperately, and almost checked it at first, but it broke out again and almost immediately enveloped the projection room.
The few people in the theatre were warned to leave the building quickly but without panic. It took but a few minutes for them to so, and even by the time they were out the flames were near the front entrance.
Wilson dashed upstairs for his wife and children, who lived directly above the theatre. They emerged from the building safely, but were not able to save any of their belongings.
The Warsaw Fire Department quickly connected several lines of hose, and fire departments of Ghent and Carrollton were called. The fire swept the length of the frame building in an incredibly short time. Despite frantic efforts the blaze mounted and flames licked out at the adjacent building next door, soon catching it afire. The sides of the old theatre building collapsed, and shortly after that, the end walls.
The main brick building then caught in the attic and spread rapidly over the entire building and was about in an uncontrollable condition when the Ghent and the Carrollton fire departments arrived. With their assistance the spread of the flames was greatly checked, but not out, by any means when Covington and Ft. Mitchell arrived. In about an hour after Covington arrived, the fire was under perfect control.
Many willing hands, however, had been united in their efforts to empty the brick building of all valuables. Everything from the offices of the County Attorney, County Judge, and County Sheriff was taken out, and the street piled high with furniture and equipment. Furniture from the Brown Hotel was stacked in front of the Courthouse.
With buildings so close together, danger to the entire downtown section was imminent. Carrollton’s operation was essential in holding the fire enough to keep it from spreading until the pumper from Covington arrived. The blaze was completely in control about 3:00 a.m.
No Lives Lost
Fortunately there were few people in the theatre when the fire occurred. Those present, about twenty or thirty, filed out quickly and quietly. Roy Wilson, who lived over the theatre warned his wife and three small children in time for them to leave the building safely. Ironically, the feature picture Sunday night was Some Like It Hot.
Water Supply Adequate
Warsaw is to be highly commended for her adequate water supply. Besides the main tank, holding 50,000 gallons, there are six reserve cisterns, one holding 38,000 gallons, the other 5 holding 25,000 gallons each. Altho it is estimated that 175,000 gallons of water were used in the disaster, there was plenty of water still left in reserve. Few towns of this size have a water reserve as abundant as this.
Covington Fireman Hurt
A Covington fireman, William Hurdtner, fell ten feet to the sidewalk when a ladder he was ascending collapsed. Undaunted, and unhurt, he placed a second ladder by the first, gained the roof of Kinney’s Barber Shop, and fell through the skylight. He was treated for cuts and bruises.
Telephone Company to be Praised
The Citizens Telephone Company is to be praised for the excellent service they are giving us in this disaster. The town was without service only a few hours.
Property Damage Was Great
Mr. F. S. Connelly estimates the damage to the two buildings at $30,000. This is partly covered by insurance. Roy Wilson and his family were unable to save anything of their household possessions, or any clothing, except that which they wore. Their loss is placed at $750. J. W. McCallister, theatre manager, estimated his loss at $1300 for film and furnishings; Earl Herzog, owner of the theatre machinery and equipment stands a loss of $1500; Warsaw Hardware Company reports a loss of $150 due to broken front windows and damaged paint.
The Count Agent’s Office lost more than $1000 in equipment and furnishings, as well as every record in the office. 175 farms in the county will have to be completely rechecked, aerial photographs of the farms are gone, [as are] records of the Utopia Club, Lime Association Charter, Sheep Protective Association, several government checks, and many other important records.
The W.P.A. Sewing Project lost twelve Singer sewing machines at $1000, and yard goods valued at $2000. The commodity clerk’s records were lost. Mr. and Mrs. T. H. Whitehead lost household furnishings totaling $350. Arthur Brown lost tools valued at $500.
Everett Webb places his loss at $2500 through damage by fire, water, theft, and breakage of many articles. Mr. Myers, of the Brown Hotel lost $1000 through theft and breakage. Mrs. Landrum’s Ladies Shop must stand a loss of $500, largely due to ruination of goods by water.
Community Public Services is out $200 in meters and equipment. The old telephone exchange was wiped out but losses by the Citizens Telephone Company are negligible because of their contemplated change in the near future anyway. Some telephone cable was destroyed.
Dr. Threlkeld, dentist, lost $400 in equipment, although he saved most of it. Hall’s Grocery estimate damage to them through broken windows and theft at $50. Tom’s Grocery, Dixie Ball’s residence, Frank Beall’s residence, Hill’s Shoe Store, Arrasmith’s garage, and Kenney’s Barber Shop were slightly damaged, ranging from $10 to $35 each.
Business at present in Warsaw is so changed that it is almost necessary to re-learn the town. Dr. Threlkeld is planning to have his office above the post office. Sheriff Earl Spencer is occupying part of the County Clerk’s office at the jail. Clay Kenney is doing business with his fellow barber, Harold Benefiel. The telephone exchange is temporarily located on the second floor of the Courthouse. Mr. F. S. Connelly has his office with Mr. Mair, insurance agent. County Agent’s work Tuesday took place at the Farmers State Bank. They plan however, to be in Kinney’s former shop for about thirty days. H. G. Beall, County Judge, will attempt to find an early office in the Courthouse. Mrs. Landrum is moving into the Junior Hall above the Warsaw Hardware. Dorothy Gutting will be doing business in the Gutting home. Everett Webb has most of his goods at the Webb Hotel. No place has been devised as yet for the Sewing Project, and these women are temporarily out of work.
The November 26 fire was reported in the November 30, 1939 Gallatin County News.