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The first person to correctly identify the house in the photo above will be recognized as a truly perceptive scholar. Please send your responses to: Info@downingtownareahistoricalsociety.org
1909 edition of Archive focused on fatality resulting from huge fire at Bicking Paper Co. in Downingtown
Ralph Entriken, a 17-year-old DHS student, suffered a fractured skull and was killed instantly when a 90-foot, iron chimney fell on him while he was helping to fight a huge fire on December 23, 1909 at the multi-story Bicking Paper Co. at Lancaster and Brandywine Avenues, where the Stella Rosa Restaurant is now located in the borough.
According to the December 24, 1909 edition of The Archive, a Downingtown weekly newspaper, the fire was discovered by employees, and an alarm was sounded at about 3 PM. Due to gale-force winds, the fire quickly spread over most of the Bicking property. But due to “the almost super-human efforts” and “miraculous work” by members of the recently-formed Minquas Fire Co. and the Alert Fire Co., prevented the fire from getting out of control and spreading to nearby buildings. Some 30 members of Coatesville’s Washington Fire Co. assisted the Downingtown firemen fight the blaze. The leadership skills of Jesse Roberts, fire marshall, and chiefs John Corcoran and Andy Breese were cited by the newspaper.
The fire, which was under control by about 5 PM, resulted in the destruction of the mill and its equipment. Most of the $35,000 loss was partially covered by insurance.
A Christmas program, planned to be held at the high school, was cancelled due to Entriken’s tragic death.