Kansas City, MO Theatre Fire, Jan 1893



Clark Tires to Hold Judah Responsible for the Burning of the Old Ninth Street Theater-Mr. Judah Insinuates That Clark Set It Afire.

The $55,000 damage suit of H. D. Clark, owner of the Ninth Street theater, against A. JUDAH, manager of the Grand Opera house, went to trial to-day in Judge Slover's court. CLARK was the owner of the old Ninth Street Opera house which occupied the site of the present theater and he leased it to Judah for three years at $10,000 a year. On the night of January 17, 1893, a month and thirteen days before Judah's lease would have expired, the theater burned. Clark claims that the fire started from live cinders in the boiler room which were put there through the carelessness of Judah's workmen and that Judah was responsible for their negligence.

The attorneys for both CLARK and JUDAH are prepared to fight each issue in the case bitterly. The attorneys for CLARK are MAJOR WILLIAM WARNER, GATES & WALLACE and L. G. ROWELL. The attorneys for Mr. Judah are JAMES BLACK and PRATT, FERRY & HAGERMAN.

The Kansas City Star, Kansas City, MO 24 Oct 1895




Witnesses for the Plaintiff Tell of a Dangerous Pile of Cinders Which Lessee Judah Failed to Move After Being Asked-No Evidence From Defense.

The trial of the $55,000 damage suit, growing out of the burning of the old Ninth Street theater, of H. D. CLARK, owner of the Ninth Street theater, against A. Judah, manager of the Grand Opera house, which began before Judge Slover yesterday, was continued to-day and will probably not be finished this week. Mr. CLARK was the first witness, and the most of his testimony was given in the later editions of the Star yesterday. He testified that he had repeatedly besought Mr. COOLEY, who was JUDAH's manager at the Ninth street, to clean out a pile of cinders in the boiler room in the basement, and when Mr. COOLEY paid no attention to his request he notified Mr. PELLETIER and LON HALE of the fire department and Inspector BOTTOM to attend to it, as the theater was in danger of fire. Mr. CLARK said that when the fire occurred JUDAH's lease would soon have been up, and CLARK refused him a new lease. CLARK was going to remodel and enlarge the house, and he bought a piece of land forty-four feet wide north of it, and was excavating there to enlarge the house when it burned. He said he usually carried $40,000 insurance on the house, but had let it run down to $20,000 when the house burned. A section of a partly burned post from the boiler room, which was one of the supports of the stage, was introduced as evidence, to show that the fire originated in the basement. CLARK said he dug it out of the debris in the basement a week after the fire.

IKE WHEELER, negro janitor of the theater when it burned, was a good witness for CLARK. He said that the day before the fire he and some of the other help in the theater smelled fire and went down into the boiler room and found the cinders on fire and threw buckets of water on them.

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