Moscow, ID University Of Idaho Fire, Oct 1956


Moscow, Idaho (AP) - Three University of Idaho students were killed today when an early morning fire, termed by Fire Chief Carl Smith the work of an arsonist, swept through a dormitory housing 130 men.
Smith said the fire broke out in the main floor lounge of Gault Hall, a $500,000 brick and steel structure which was opened only last fall. Smith said the building was "supposed to be completely fire proof."
Prosecuting Atty. Lloyd G. Martinson started an immediate investigation.

Those who died in the blaze were identified by Smith as:
PAUL JOHNSON, Davenport, Wash.
JOHN KNUDSON, Idaho Falls, Idaho.
CLAIR SCHULDBERG, Terreton, Idaho.
JOHNSON was a sophomore, the others freshmen.

Trapped In Halls.
Smith said two of the victims were trapped in the halls of the building. The third was suffocated when he took refuge in a shower room. He was found with a towel over his head in an apparent last attempt to keep the smoke away.
The fire was so intense it melted glass on the window and made grotesque junk of window casings. Students' radios were curled up by the heat.
Three other students were burned in the blaze, none seriously.
The blaze, the fourth in a series at the school, was discovered about 2:10 a.m. by a student in neighboring Upham Hall, which was opened at approximately the same time as Gault Hall.
Tom McDevitt of Pocatello told Smith:
"An explosion awakened me. I looked out my window and saw flames shooting up to the windows of the lounge in Gault Hall."
The Moscow fire department's two trucks raced to the campus and firemen, with the aid of university students, fought the fire for 45 minutes before bringing it under control.
Breaking out of the lounge, the fire swept quickly upward to char the interiors of the second and third floors of the four-story dormitory.

Escape From Rooms.
Four students were trapped in their rooms for a time. Two escaped by climbing down the ladder of a fire truck and the other two climbed to the roof of the building by ropes lowered to them, and went down fire escapes.
There was no immediate estimate of damage.
Three students were taken to the university infirmary and confined to bed with burns. None is in serious condition.

They were:
ELWOOD KINTNER, Idaho Falls, son of Mrs. Willis Nutzman.
GENE BODILY, Idaho Falls, son of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Bodily.
and TERRANCE MURPHY, Mullan, son of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Murphy.
All are expected to be released in a day or two. Five other students were treated for minor burns and released. Some had inhaled considerable smoke.