Jackson, MS Lunatic Asylum Fire, Feb 1902
FIRE IN AN ASYLUM.
THE DEED OF A LUNATIC IMPERILS OVER SIX HUNDRED LIVES.
Jackson, Miss., Feb. 16. -- The four-story main building of the State Asylum for the Insane was set on fire about 5 o'clock this morning by J. D. BROWN, an inmate of the institution. BROWN had recently escaped and was only returned yesterday. He stated to his attendants that it would be all the worse for him and them if he was again confined. His threat was soon put into execution, and he himself, unable to escape from the building, was burned to death, a victim of his insane deed.
There were 600 inmates in the building, most of whom were asleep when the flames were discovered. Through the most superhuman exertions of the Superintendent, DR. MITCHELL, and his subordinates all were saved and safety transferred to the wings disconnected from the burning pile.
After performing this extraordinary feat, Superintendent MITCHELL, just up from a sick bed, staggered and fell, and was conveyed to his home. Assistant NOLAND STEWART, after heroic and successful endeavors, also succumbed. Fireman ODDENEAL held his post with a hose until his shoes and clothing took fire, when he escaped through a window and took refuge in a pond. The work of the volunteer Fire Department was good.
The building was of brick and had a frontage of about five hundred feet. It was situated about two miles from the city proper. The building was about two-thirds destroyed, entalling a loss to the State of $200,000. There was no insurance.
The Legislature this afternoon appropriated $25,000 to meet immediate demands.
Seventy-five of the more violent lunatics have been transferred to the penitentiary, which is almost empty, the convicts having been leased.
The New York Times New York 1902-02-17