Katz Home Fire
Submitted and Transcribed by Veneta (Aldridge) McKinney

Source: THE VERNON CLIPPER, Dec. 12, 1879 - Lamar County, Alabama, Page 2

ALMOST BURNED ALIVE from West Point (Miss.) News

The saddest and most horrible scenes we ever witnessed occurred last night at the residence of our next door neighbor, MR. KATZ. About seven oclock we started down to the News office, and when a little way beyond Mr. KATZS residence, we noticed a sudden flash in the western room of his house, and immediately his children began screaming "Fire! Fire!" Rushing back to the gate and to the house almost in a moments time, the front door was tried and found to be locked. We were just in the act of kicking in one of the front windows when the children unlocked the door. A lamp was sitting on a little work table, and what seemed to be some clothing lying on the table, was in a fierce blaze as well as some other goods or clothing on the floor. We were just in the act of snatching the burning clothing from the table, when MRS. KATZ, whom we had concluded was away from home, on entering the house ran out of a back room completely enveloped in flames. She had probably gone into the back room in search of water. Seizing a pillow we tried to beat out the flames, but her entire clothing seemed saturated with oil, and the flames leaped at least two feet above her head. Even her hair was in a lurid flame. Finding that we could not extinguish the flames, we cried to her to jump in bed, thinking to smother the flames with the bedclothes. We asked the children several times where the water was kept but the little fellows were so terrible frightened that they only continued to scream. When Mrs. Katz had knelt down on the floor with her face on the bed, Mr. ONEAL ran in with a bucket of water, and by throwing it on her succeeded so far in smothering the flames that he was enabled to extinguish them a moment later with bed-clothing. The stifling smoke from the burning oil and clothing in the close room made it almost suffocating. It was the most heart-rending, soul-sickening scene we ever beheld, and we hope that it will never fall our lot to look upon the like again. MRS. KATZ is quite low, and her recovery is almost despaired of. May God pity the helpless sufferer.




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