Fire at Rock Springs Park

The (New Cumberland) Independent
June 10, 1915

Three Dead as Result Of Fire in "Old Mill" At the Rock Springs Park

Three are dead and one is lying in the Wentz hospital at Chester, seriously burned, as a result of the fire that practically destroyed the "Old Mill" at Rock Springs Park, Saturday night, shortly after 7 o'clock.

The Dead.

Albert Rayner, aged 12, of Chester died late Saturday night, as the result of burns.

Eva Dales, aged 14, of Newell, died at 11:15 Sunday night, as the result of burns and shock.

Miss Glenna Stout, aged 17, of Newell died early Sunday morning as the result of burns.

Hyacinth Mackey, aged 15, of Newell, burned about the face, head and arms.

The fire occurred during the celebration of the annual outing of the public and parochial schools of East Liverpool, Wellsville, Chester and Newell, at an hour in the evening when approximately 10,000 people were in the park grounds.

Without warning, the flames sprang out of the entrance to the "Old Mill" Saturday evening. A boy, nearby, ran to [t]he Rock Springs office and Robert J. McElravy sent in a fire call.

The dynamo had stopped and some of the boats were stalled in the various passages. The men in charge opened all of the doors possible for exits and contents from three boats going through were discharged in that way.

The seven persons in the leading boats were so close that their boat shot through the flames, but not until after the flames had a good start. That accounts for the terrible burns on the four people in the first boat. All in that boat were more or less seriously burned.

C. A. Smith, president of the Rock Springs company expressed great sorrow over the accident, regretting especially that the disaster should occur when the children were guests of the park.

The cause of the fire is unknown, but it is the theory of C. A. Smith of the Rock Springs Company, that it was caused by lighted cigarettes dropped in the entrance.

Spectators, who were there when the fire started, state that they believe that the dynamo caused the blaze. It is impossible at present to ascertain the true cause of the conflagration.

While rescue work was going on on [sic], thousands of people crowded about the place. The company office was besieged with people, desiring information and the use of the telephone. Scores of women fainted and pandemonium reigned in the red glare of the flames which quickly burst through the lightly constructed building.

After McElravy made the first call to the Chester department with which he was unable to get in touch at first and then to East Liverpool, he went immediately to the scene of the disaster, instructing Miss Naomi McDevitt, of Wellsville, his cashier, to send in calls for ambulances and physicians.

Despite the clammoring [sic] outside where women were fainting one after the other, Miss McDevitt gamely clung to the phone and called the hospitals, ambulances and physicians.

Parks and Recreation