Fire at Rock Springs Park

The (New Cumberland) Independent
June 10, 1915

Heroism is Displayed In Rescue Wort [sic] at the Chester Fire

Heroic work on the part of a number of men who reached the scene of the "Old Mill" fire at Rock Springs park within a few seconds after the flames were discovered, resulted in the saving of many lives Saturday evening.

One of the Trojan workers who hurried to the aid of those who were trapped in the burning structure was John Hughes, master motorman of the East Liverpool Traction & Light company, who has been confined at his home suffering with slight burns and a nerve shock.

Mr. Hughes, with Andrew Blaschak manager of the Postal Telegraph office, were among the first to discover the fire. Realizing that those who were near the exit would be the easiest reached, they rushed to the left side of the building and started back into the dark passageway.

M[r]. Hughes leaped into the water and waded to the boat which had stopped when the large mill wheel stopped turning. Assisted by Mr. Blaschak, he dragged the craft out of the exit and to safety. Before they could enter again the opening through which they passed was a sheet of flames. They could then hear the screams of those in the boat following, which was near the blazing opening.

People on the outside in horror called to those in the second boat to go back, but they evidently became bewildered and sought the only exit of which they were aware, notwithstanding the fact that they would find it necessary to fight their way through a wall of fire and smoke. As the victims plunged through the blaze with their clothing afire they were taken into kind hands on the outside.

In the meantime, William Hocking, manager of the Rock Springs Park company; Michael Carraher an[d] others were busy on the outside of the building. Windows were broken in the weather boarding torn from the sides of the building. Ed Wyman and others assisted in the work, and the occupants of the two boats were dragged through the apertures in the building and to safety.

One boat, which was just ente[r]ing the waterway when the fire broke out was brought back. In all, five boats loads of people were in the amusement when the fire started.

Terrence Canavan and Charles Lents, East Liverpool Traction & Light company employes, were among those who risked their lives in handling the electric wires after the fire broke out. Canavan threw off the switches and instructed the power house to turn the current from the high voltage wires which were burning and dropping to the grou[n]d endangering the lives of those near the burning structure. Mr. Lentz climbed burning poles and snapped the electric wires.

Mr. Canavan, when questioned as to how the fire started, stated that all indications point to the fact that the place originated in the scene room to the right of the motor room, and that it had evidently been caused by some lighted match or cigaret tossed away near the canvas.

Parks and Recreation