Little, KY Mission School Dormitory Fire, Oct 1940


Jackson, Ky. -- (AP) -- Nine small girls were burned to death early today in a fire which destroyed a frame dormitory building at a mission school in a remote section of Breathitt County.
Twelve other little girls and six teachers at the mission which cares for orphan children in this eastern Kentucky mountain area escaped from the second floor of the building where they were sleeping.
One of the teachers, MISS DESSIE SCOTT, 24, of Washington, Pa., was so badly burned helping rescue the children that Dr. Frank Sewell, Breathitt County health officer, said she was not expected to live.
FRED PUCHEE, 71, who with his wife operated the mission, also suffered serious burns.
None of the rescued children or other teachers was burned.
The mission, located at Little, Ky., a community on the Louisville and Nashville railroad about 15 miles south, is supported by voluntary contributions.

Kingsport Times Tennessee 1940-10-08


Childen's home fire

My ex-mother-in-law, Marguerite Noble Lewis, and her 3 sisters were raised by Mrs. Puchee (whom I met many years ago) at the Children's home, and told me many stories. The night of the fire, Marguerite was not there, as she was attending a boarding high school across the hills, but her older sister was. I think her name was Martha. I met all the sisters, but it's been a number of years. Anyway, Martha was separated from her husband and staying at the school with her two little girls. She was also very pregnant. Martha was in the infirmary when the fire broke out and ran into the girls burning dorm to save her daughters. In the dark, she grabbed 2 girls and ran out with them. One was her daughter (Jeanne, I think), and the other was another little girl. Her daughter Teddy died in the fire. When my mother-in-law Marguerite heard of the fire, she ran the whole way across the hills to check on her sister and nieces. Marguerite died a few years ago, and with her many amazing stories of growing up during the depression in a children's home.

I would like to hear more about the Little Ky, fire?

My Grandparents are Isaac and Myrtle McClain. They are buried in the Fielders cementary. I visited their graves today and spotted a stone that has
Geraldine Fielders 1932 -1940
Beatrice,Lilly,Dorothy,Myrtle,Hazel, Tidie, Amanda, and Betsy
These names are all girls that perished i 1940.
So if you can help with any information I would really appreicate your help

Thank you Brenda McClain Tolson

Nellie Belle

We have old photo of Nellie Belle if you would like a copy. Need your email address.

My mom was one of the ones who survived this fire

My mother Nellie Belle Richie also survived this fire and her little sister was burnt to death in the fire. Her name was Hazel.

Think my Grandmother was one of these survivors!

Oh my goodness, I have heard this story from my grandmother! She survived but her baby sister was killed in the fire! Does anyone have any other information about this?