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The spontaneous combustion fire began in a cloak room that adjoined the choir room

100 YEARS AGO

February 17, 1921

Advertising pays. People who doubt it can ascertain the truth by talking to the officials of the Madras State Bank who have long believed in and practice the policy of extensive advertising. One of the objects of bank advertising is to secure new depositors. The Madras State Bank has, for a number of years, devoted a large percentage of their advertising space to an endeavor to increase their clientele. The frequently printed reports of their condition are evidence a plenty that this class of advertising has been productive for them. But the real surprise was recently occasioned when they received an account from the Asiatic station of the American Consulate at Teinsin, China. One of the attaches their deposits his government check in the Madras State Bank and draws Madras State Bank checks. Owing to its solid financial position and the wide policy of its advertising whereby the facts of its stability are visible this depositor has no difficulty in drawing checks on the local institution through China.

75 YEARS AGO

February 21, 1946

The Army, Navy, and Merchant Marine is moving rapidly to dismantle and vacate many of the places of recent war-time activity in Portland and vicinity. The Navy is vacating the old market building of the waterfront, the Army is soon to turn terminal 4 back to the port commission, and the Army airport will soon be declared surplus and abandoned by the Army Air Corps.

Vancouver barracks is soon to be abandoned by the Army. Swan Island barracks is to be retained for a time, at least, but the west side Naval barracks is already deserted.

The Willamette shipyard was recently sold to the highest bidder and the future of the one-time busy Naval construction yard is uncertain. Rumors say that Kaiser will retain the Swan Island yard as a repair center and Oregon Yard will continue for another six months, at least, until the three liners are completed for Alcoa. What is to happen to the Kaiser Vancouver yard has not been officially announced. A press report from Washington stated that the yard would be taken over by the Navy department and kept intact as a standby yard, however, this has never been verified from any other source.

In addition to the butter shortage, the housewife is having new troubles. Coffee is scarce on the grocer's shelve and many grocers are limiting purchases to one pound to a customer. Saturday, many stores were out of coffee before closing time. To add to the aforementioned troubles, many housewives are going grocery to grocery buying white flour to store for future use before the hoarders get it.

Last Friday evening about 7:20 p.m. many residents of Portland were very much disturbed when family residence began to rock to and fro and pictures on the wall swayed. Most of those who felt the queer sensation of having the floor creep under foot and saw the table walk realized that it was an earthquake shock. A few more tremors of this kind for Portland and Seattle and they will be well on the way to compete with Los Angeles in real estate advertising.

50 YEARS AGO

February 18, 1971

A fire at Madras High School Monday morning gutted several school rooms and caused extensive smoke damage throughout the building.

Twenty-eight firemen from both the Madras Volunteer Fire Department and the North Unit Rural District Fire Department, aided by air compressor equipment from the Warm Springs Fire Department managed to bring the fire under control within an hour or so after they were summoned at 7:23 a.m.

Fire damage, Donald Kipp, school superintendent, said, was confined to the vocal music room and two smaller adjacent practice rooms. Smoke damage, however, was extensive, he said.

All hallways and lockers in the school were covered with a thick layer of black soot as the smoke that billowed out of the vocal music room was picked up by the school's ventilation system and disseminated throughout the building.

Two pianos in the choir room, one a grand, were destroyed.

The fire started in a cloak room adjoining the choir room.

Madras fire chief Floyd Raver and Oregon State Police Corporal LeRoy Carstensen postulate spontaneous combustion was the cause of the fire.

Heat had apparently built up over a period of time between layers of straw hats painted with a linseed oil base paint, that were stacked on top of choir robes in the closets, they said. Finally, perhaps over the weekend, they began smoldering and burst into flames when the closet door was opened after smoke was discovered.

The fire was first detected by some of the 35 students who were in the building for a pre-school play rehearsal. They notified Floyd Jones, head of maintenance at the high school, who in turn notified Homer Moore, the district's maintenance supervisor. Moore called the fire department.

Before the firemen arrived, Moore tried extinguishing the fire himself with one of the school's fire extinguishers. Although he emptied its contents on the fire, it had little effect. By then, Moore said, a circular column of flame was shooting from the floor to ceiling inside the closet. He slammed the door shut and waited to direct the firemen.

At 10 a.m. the school board, representatives from the agency carrying the school district's fire insurance, the Insurance Mart of Madras, and fire officials met to determine the extent of the loss and to formulate a cleanup plan. The exact amount of the loss could not be determined at the meeting, Kipp said. He did indicate though that except for a $100 deductible, the insurance companies would absorb the entire loss.

25 YEARS AGO

February 21, 1996

Fire broke out last week at the Juniper Motel in Madras, damaging two rooms and their contents.

"It appears there was a broken gas line inside one of the rooms," said Earl Cordes, chief of the Jefferson County Fire District. "It leaked gas, which was ignited by the furnace pilot light," Cordes said.

Both motel rooms were unoccupied at the time: the day before, the motel management had moved guests out of the rooms because they had smelled gas.

The part of the Juniper Motel where the fire occurred was valued at $65,000, with damage estimated at $10,000. The contents of the rooms were valued at $2,400, with loss estimated at $1,200.


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