Kansas City, MO Candy Factory Fire, Nov 1879

Fatal Loss and Fire.

Fire Persons Burned To Death In The Ruins Of A Candy Manufactory.

Kansas City, Mo., Nov. 8.-A terrible disaster occurred at the corner of Second and Main Streets yesterday afternoon. Four brick three-story building occupied by Carle & Sons, cracker and candy manufacturers, tumbled down and were completely consumed by fire. At the time the accident occurred, 107 persons, mostly boys and girls, aged from 12 to 20 years, were at work in the factory, all of whom escaped alive except six. The cause of the accident cannot be fully determined; but as an explosion occurred simultaneously with the fall of the walls, it is supposed to be a repetition of the accident in New York last year, viz. a starch explosion. As soon as the walls fell, the building took fire, and the Fire Department being on hand in a few minutes, by their efficient service the flames were prevented from extending to the buildings adjoining. As soon as the news of the accident had spread about the city the parents and friends of those employed there flocked to the scene to learn the fate of their friends. As soon as the firemen had subdued the flames they set to work digging for the dead, and up to 10 P.M. had taken out three-Emma Kemper and Anna Becker. Those still missing and supposed to be in the ruins are Louis Hummell, Andy McConnell, George Kemper, and Johnny Kemper. The buildings and their contents were a total loss.

Besides those already reported, the bodies of E. Shutten, Louise Hummell, Annie McConnell, and Miss Goepher have been taken from the ruins of Carle & Co.‘s candy factory, and the search for others still continues. The loss is estimated at $75,000. Joseph McGuire, an employee of the factory, acted with great heroism. He dragged Miss Nellie Horton and Mrs. Long down two flights of stairs through the stifling smoke and fire. At the bottom of the stairs Miss Horton fell, suffocated by the smoke. Seizing Mrs. Long in his arms, he rushed through a sheet of flame to the front of the building, and them attempted to return for Miss Horton, but the fire was so fierce by this time that he could not reach her. She was rescued, however, from the rear of the factory.

Great crowds of people gathered round the scene from an early hour this morning watching the workmen removing the ruins in search of the bodies of George Kemper and Andy McConnell, the same age. The roll of employees was called this morning and all were accounted for except the two mentioned. The death-toll numbers 5, and the list of wounded 12, but none of the latter are fatally injured.

The following is a full list of the killed: Emma Kemper, Edward Shutten, Louise Hummell, Anna McConnell, and Miss Goepher. Nettie Curtain, the first person taken from the ruins, was only slightly wounded, although under the edge of the burning mass over an hour.

The New York Times, New York, NY 9 Nov 1879