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BLAST FROM THE PAST - Coroner searches for leading causes

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:11 PM

March 26, 1912

The top stories in The Daily Reflector on this date 96 years ago:

Inquest fails to fix blame

Coroner Crecelius at 3 o’clock Monday afternoon continued the inquiry into the causes leading to the deaths of the inmates at the Huron County infirmary for a few days. The date to which the hearing was continued was not set but the hearing will be resumed when the inmates, who are now recovering from poisoning, have recovered sufficiently to talk without danger of fatigue.

Coroner Crecelius also intends to call other persons who are not now connected with the infirmary but who were at the institution in former years when coal was burned under the boilers. He wants to make inquiries, also, of the changes made in the heating plant when gas was substituted for coal as fuel.

The last witness Monday afternoon was J.H. Gfell of this city, who had been sent to the institution to make an investigation as to how the damper worked in the pipe. Upon his return he told of what he found, telling Coroner Crecelius that at the present time the damper is broken and does not work as it should. Mr. Gfell said he was told at the institution that the present condition of the damper was brought about Saturday morning when it was forced open by means of a bar and that before Saturday morning the damper worked as it should.

The six inmates improving nicely

The six inmates at the Huron county Infirmary, who survived the ordeal of gas fumes, which escaped from the boiler room to the men’s dormitory and which resulted in the death of eight of the men sleeping there, are recovering nicely and apparently will recover.

Tuesday morning three of the six got up and dressed and were able to be about the building. The other three are still in bed but are improving. All of the six partook of a nourishing breakfast. All are fully conscious and able to talk but not one knows anything of the doings of Friday night, which resulted in the worst calamity that has ever befallen the institution.

All that the surviving men know is that they went to sleep as usual in the dormitory and awoke to consciousness in the hospital in another building of the institution. They have been told of the deaths of their eight companions but the living offer no explanation as to the cause of the things that took place in the room while all were breathing the escaping gas fumes form the boiler room below.

Laid away in Woodlawn

The funeral of Mrs. Philena Bowen, which was held Sunday afternoon at 2 o’clock from her late home, No. 23 West Elm Street, was largely attended by relatives and friends. Rev. A.J. Funnell officiated, and during the services two selections were sung by Mrs. H.C. Malcolm and Mrs. John Parker. Many beautiful flowers covered the casket.

At the conclusion of the services the remains were taken to Woodlawn cemetery for burial. The pallbearers were Thomas Hay, George Parker, A. Ringle, Aro Carpenter, Theodore Brown and Henry F. Bowers.

Former Norwalk minister dead

The Reflector received on Tuesday morning the following night letter, which is self explanatory and which will be of interest to many readers of the Reflector, both here and elsewhere.

“Harrodsburg, Ky., March 25

“Please publish that Dr. Elvero Persons, who was pastor of the Methodist Church in Norwalk for a number of years, died suddenly on the 24th instant at Bellingham, Wash., where his daughter is teaching.”

The message was sent by a son of Rev. Dr. Persons, E.E. Persons, and the news of his father’s death will come as a surprise to many friends in this city.

Rev. Elvero Persons was twice pastor of the Norwalk Methodist Church in the early 70s, and again from 1886 to 1888. He was at one time district superintendent of the Mansfield district and at various times has pastorates at Galion, Tiffin, Plymouth and other places.

The deceased leaves five sons and one daughter to mourn the death of a kind and indulgent parent.

— Compiled by Andy Prutsok

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