Columbus, OH Lunatic Asylum Fire, Nov 1868

Columbus OH State Hospital for Insane.jpg Columbus OH  Ohio Lunatic Asylum Burned.jpg


A Columbus dispatch of the 18th inst., to the Cincinnati Gazette, gives the following additional particulars of the burning of the Central Lunatic Asylum at the place:
A few minutes before 10 o'clock tonight a fire broke out in the north end of the east wing of the Central Ohio Lunatic Asylum, and the entire building is now being rapidly destroyed. The fire is said to have originated from a defective flue. The fire department was promptly on hand, but owing to an insufficiency in the supply of water, was unable to resist the progress of the flames. The engine belonging to the institution has been constantly pumping water, but not in sufficient quantity to keep the steamers constantly employed.
The wing where the fire originated was occupied by women, six of whom were suffocated before aid could reach them. Their bodies were saved. One more was carried out alive, but has since died. The other patients have been taken to the hospital on the asylum grounds, and to various public institutions, where ehy will be properly cared for. None of the men were injured.
About all the furniture in the main building and the west wing was saved, but much of it in a damaged condition. A portion of that in the east wing was also taken out. The loss to the State will be about $800,000; to say nothing about how this terrible calamity will affect an unfortunate class of our community. The institution had about 850 patients, accommodations but for few of whom can be provided at the other asylums in the State.
The scene during the progress of the conflagration was most appalling, and baffles description. The officers of the institution did their duty nobly. Many of the citizens made themselves useful in taking care of patients and carrying out furniture. If Columbus had been supplied with water works this fire could have been readily suppressed, and property saved exceeding in value the future cost of such an improvement.

The Petersburg Index Virginia 1868-11-23