Connellsville, PA Presbyterian Church Fire, Jan 1907

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First Presbyterian Church, Connellsville, PA early 1900s, photo from familyoldphotos.com

Overheated Furnace Causes Blaze in United Church This morning.

Confusion Over Church Fire This Morning.

Fire this morning damaged a considerable portion of the basement of the First United Presbyterian Church on North Pittsburg street. But for a confusion in the alarm, the damage would have been considerably less. The blaze was first discovered by Miss Bertha Stevens, who conducts a kindergarten school in the basement of the building. When she arrived this morning but two children were on hand. Upon going into the church great volume of smoke were seen rolling up from the furnace room. Word was sent to the brewery and an alarm sounded, but neither the number of the nearest box or plug was known. The fire wagon was hitched up for fully 15 minutes before an inkling was gained as to the location of the fire. Those at the church were too much excited to telephone to the distillery and notify the firemen. Engineer Thomas McGuire of the brewery blew for box No. 124, which is located at the corner of Pittsburg and Peach streets, hoping in that way to get the firemen out in the direction of the church.

Once on the scene effective work was done and the fire was extinguished as it began to eat through the floor into the auditorium of the edifice. The small organ downstairs was slightly damaged by water and the entire basement also sustained considerable damage from this source. The flames burnt a good portion of the woodwork. The blaze originated, it is believed, from an overheated furnace. The loss, amounting to about $100, is fully covered by insurance.

Only the heavy carpet on the floor of the auditorium kept the flames from spreading to that part of the building. A good bit of the floor was burned through. In the absence of a Fire Marshal Councilman William McCormick directed the fire fighters. The entire building was filled with smoke and this made the work of the firemen difficult.

Rev. J. J. Huston, pastor of the church, and Dr. J. French Kerr, one of the Trustees, were early on the scene and did able work. J. D. Stillwagon of the Connellsville Water Company was also on hand to give assistance. It required but a short time to extinguish the blaze.

The Daily Courier, Connellsville, PA 28 Jan 1907