Morrissey, BC Pioneer Hotel Fire, Jan 1903
FATAL FIRE AT MORRISSEY.
HOTEL IN BRITISH COLUMBIA TOWN BURNED.
FOUR UNIDENTIFIED BODIES TAKEN FROM RUINS -- FOUR MORE THOUGHT TO STILL REMAIN -- HOUSE WAS FULL OF TRANSIENTS -- LAMP WAS TURNED OVER IN BARROOM -- FLAMES SPREAD RAPIDLY.
Morrissey, B. C. -- Four dead bodies, charred and as yet unidentified, were taken from the ruins of the Pioneer Hotel, which burned here.
It is feared four more victims are still in the ruins, which will be thoroughly searched as soon as possible.
The hotel was well filled with guests at the time of the fire. It was a structure 30 feet wide and 50 feet long, two stories in height, with dining room and bar. A. Johnson, the lessee, is as yet unable to determine how many guests escaped, as many of them were transients and not known personally to him.
A lamp was accidentally overturned in the barroom. Owing to the inflammable nature of the building, the flames spread rapidly and soon got beyond control. Most of the guests had retired, and as soon as the proprietor saw the place was doomed he and the bartender rushed upstairs to arouse the sleeping inmates. In some cases the guests were half dazed by smoke and scorched by flames, and it was with difficulty that they were gotten to the outside.
Everything was in flames in a few moments, but the two rescuers worked until they were so badly burned about the head and arms that they could no longer stay in the building.
The town had no modern fire apparatus, and it was necessary to wait until the flames subsided before searching part of the ruins. Four dead bodies were discovered and carried out. In the ruins it is feared there are four more.
The hotel site is at the east end of town. A west wind was blowing, and that fact alone saved the rest of the town from destruction.
A. Johnson, lessee, suffered property loss of $1000, no insurance; S. Kenouse, proprietor of the building, figures his loss at $4000, insurance $2500. The guests escaped with only what clothing was on their backs, in most instances exceedingly scanty, and all their personal effects were burned.
Morrissey, B.C., is a new town of about 1000 inhabitants, which has sprung up since the Morrissey coal mines, operated by the Great Northern railroad, came into prominence, it is 90 miles north of Jennings, Mont., and 40 miles north of the international boundary line.
Pullman Herald Washington (W.T.) 1903-01-24