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Mitchell, SD House Fire, Mar 1955


Mitchell, S.D. (AP) -- All four children of the JOHN HEINRICH family of rural Mitchell burned to death in a fire that destroyed two bedrooms of their home and sent the 27-year-old mother to the hospital with first and second degree burns.
Dead are DALE, 6, DELORES, 5, DIANA, 4, and DAVID, 2. The fire was thought to have been caused by an oil stove which exploded about 12:30 a.m.
Late this morning the father still had not been located. He is a trucker employed by Phillip Deer of Mitchell and was on a run somewhere between Omaha and Minneapolis.
The bodies of two children were found on the floor of one of the two bedrooms which burned. The other two were found in one of the beds. The home is two miles north and a half mile east of Mitchell.
According to reports, the mother was set afire by the explosion and oil sprayed over the two beds in which the chidren were sleeping.
Apparently two of them were awakened for eye witness accounts reported that two were seen momentarily moving in the flames.
MRS. WALTER BRACHA, a neighbor living just west of the HEINRICHS reported that MRS. HEINRICHS told her, "the worst thing was the screams of the kids."
MRS. HEINRICHS and others attempted to get into the flaming house, but were driven back by flames and smoke.
The HEINRICHS lived with MRS. HEINRICH'S father, JOHN HOELTZNER. They slept in two bedrooms on the west side of the house. The children had one bedroom and the parents the other. A stove located in the childrens' room is the one believed to have caused the fire.
SAWTONY BRACHA; brother of WALTER BRACHA, reported he saw flames in a window and started for the HOELTZNER residence. Before he got there the shole west end of the building was in flames.

The Winona Daily Herald Minnesota 1955-03-07

article | by Dr. Radut