Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Blue Room Burns, Church Basement New Hangout, Vol. 1, No. 4, Wednesday, June 21, 1944

This is one of those things that your editor would hope he never would have to write about. But considering how everything has turned out with no loss of life or property, I'll go into it with a little more heart than had the story had a different ending.

At Friday morning June 2nd at 1:00 AM., Dog Benton made the rounds of the place and was satisfied that everything was as usual. He lit the night light and locked up and headed for home.

Marie and Ray Pharo

At about 2:30 AM. the screams of Mrs. Ray Pharo were heard from across the street, just as Norb pulled up in front of the place. Norb says he never heard Mrs. Pharo calling when he pulled up, but looked in the Blue Room and found it a mass of flames. It was then he heard her calling for Mary and Mary's mother. Norb told her to call the local fire department, which she had done, but always at a time like that they seem to never come. Norb then proceeded to get out those upstairs, Mrs. Pharo, Mary, and next-door neighbors Mr. and Mrs. Prinzbach. By the time that everyone had evacuated the building, three companies of the fire department were on the scene and busy at work.

Now get this straight -- your editor was not there when all this happened and only found out about it when I was on my way to work. Standing in front of the place was the new electric bottle beer cooler and a pile of debris that is usually thrown out after a fire. When I investigated further, I found the front door wide open and the old faithful Dog Benton on guard. Naturally, my first thoughts were of those upstairs. Benton assured me that everyone was OK, but what I saw in the old place left me spellbound. Back in the corner where the bottled goods case had formerly set, was a large hole burned through the floor. Every bit of surface of the woodwork such as the bar, side board, doors and other furnishings was blistered by the intense heat. Part of the plaster on the ceiling had pulled lose, but did not fall. Here is where the hand of God was VERY evident. Had the plaster fallen and the ceiling took fire, this article would have had a different ending.

There would have been nothing to stop the flames from getting to the second floor, and the stairway to the third floor was just overhead from the fire. A catastrophe was prevented because Mrs. Ray Pharo was awake, and Norb came home at just the right time. Had no one been awake or noticed what was taking place, I can't help but believe it would have been fatal.

The fire was thought to have started in or near the motor for the electric refrigerator and the damage was placed at $600 by the attending fire marshal. But those who have seen the damage think it will exceed that amount. No damage was done to the drug store.

At the present time the Blue Room is closed, but Mr. Prinzbach has promised us quick action within his means, and hopes to have us back on the track soon.

So your editor takes great pleasure in saluting Mrs. Ray Pharo and Norb for their part in preventing what we all hate to think of. And to Frank Benton, an orchid for his faithfulness for returning and keeping a watch so there could be no recurrence of what had already happened. And to all others who were so considerate of the well-being of Mrs. Pharo and Mary who were marooned in the back yard while all the excitement was going on, we say thanks a million.

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