Battle Creek, MI Sanitarium Fire, Feb 1902

Sanitarium Rebuilt After the Fire


BATTLE CREEK, Mich.,---Feb. 18
The greatest fire in the history of Battle Creek broke out at 4 o'clock this morning in the Kellogg sanitarium. The flames spread with great rapidity and in a remarkably short space of time the entire structure was ablaze. As soon as the fire was discovered watchmen ran through the corridors arousing the sleeping patients and warning them of the danger. Many of them were unable to help themselves and were carried to places of safety by the nurses. Others became semi-panic stricken and rushed to the fire escapes with the intention of hurling themselves to the ground, but were restrained and led or carried to the ground in safety. Meantime the great corridors were filling with smoke and many of the patients who had attempted to escape by the stairways were forced to return to the windows. The shrieks of the terrified people rent the air. Every fresh arrival on the scene lent a willing hand in the work of rescue and remarkable to relate everyone of the four patients in the institution, so far as known escaped from the burning building. A woman and a girl became panic stricken at the thought of being burned to death and leaped from a third story window to the ground. Both of them had their legs broken and sustained internal injuries which may prove fatal. By the time water was turned on the burning structure the main building was a roaring furnace. Nothing that the firemen could do could check the progress of the fire and by 7 o'clock the main building was a ruined mass and the hospital was burning without any hope of saving it. The institution was erected in 1866 and has been added to at various times since. It was partly of brick and partly veneered. The company which conducted the sanitarium carried a good insurance but the exact amount it [is] not known. The loss will reach not less than $500,000

Wilkes-Barre Times, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18 Feb 1902


Sanitarium at Battle Creek, Mich., Destroyed by Fire.

Battle Creek, Mich., 18---Early today the large Adventist sanitarium and hospital buildings located here were destroyed by fire, causing a loss of about $500,000, with only $60,000 insurance, besides great personal loss to 300 patients who were in the main building and only had time to escape in their night clothing.

One life is supposed to have been lost. Abner CASE, age 83 years, of Bath, NY., is missing, and it is thought his body is buried in the ruins. There were at least 300 persons in the main building when the fire broke out in the basement. This building was five stories high, and as soon as the fire was discovered the night attendants on each floor gave the alarm in the corridors, and the patients went down the fire escapes aided by the nurses. They did not have time to collect their personal effects. Mrs. H. C. MCDANIELS, of Bath, NY., jumped from a fire escape about two stories from the ground and broke her leg. She was also injured internally and about the head. None of the other inmates sustained injuries so far as known. They were all cared for in the Phelps sanitarium and in private homes nearby.

The firemen were handicapped by insufficient water pressure and in two hours the buildings were in ruins. While fighting the fires from ladders Fireman Henry A. LUCAS fell to the ground and received serious injuries. Fireman Arthur ROBINSON also fell from a ladder and was badly hurt about the body. His lungs were also injured by inhaling fire. Assistant Fire Chief Fred H. WEBB fell from a ladder. His head was injured and ribs broken. Fireman Fred C. HOUGHTELIN also received injuries.

Fire Captain FONDA saved eight lives at the risk of his own. Among the patients were Ira D. SANKEY, the evangelist, and wife, who climbed down a fire escape.

The cause of the fire is said to be an explosion of chemicals.

The Columbus Enquirer-Sun, Columbus, GA 19 Feb 1902