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Home: Regional: U.S. States: Georgia: Bartow County

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Re: Fire in Cartersville, GA
Posted by: H. Williams (ID *****0322) Date: March 11, 2010 at 19:29:13
In Reply to: Fire in Cartersville, GA by Marcia Kimball Allan of 801

I found an article about this in my great great grandmother's Bible so I did some research and found out more about this tragedy.

1928 Christmas Eve Wall Street (Cartersville) Fire
The Tribune (Cartersville) December 1928

Horrible Tragedy Enacted Christmas Eve at Temporary Store on Wall Street Operated by C. D. Shaw, Father of Two of the Young People Who Met Death-Community Shock¬ed As Never Before and Grief Overshadowed Festivities Planned for Holiday Season

A busy store, filled with Christmas shoppers, was suddenly turned into a burning inferno here Monday afternoon, and before the flames were quelled sufficiently for rescuers to enter the charred structure, three young people had been burned to death and two others so frightfully burned they succumbed several hours later.

The dead are:
William Shaw, ten years old, and Frances Shaw, sixteen years old, children of Mr. and Mrs., C. D. Shaw.
Mary Bell Dodd, sixteen years old, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Carey Dodd.
Mary Park Kennedy, nineteen years old, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. R. E. Kennedy.
Hugh Padgett, twelve years old, son of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Padgett, who, reside near the Ladd Lime & Stone Company plant.

Seriously injured:
Paul Padgett, thirty years of age, father of Hugh, suffered horrible burns and cuts about face.
J. R. Shellhorse, Jr., seventeen years of age, son of Mr. J. R. Shellhorse, who resides on North Bartow Street.

How Fire Started

According to most reliable reports available, the fire started in the store when a customer, said to have been drink¬ing, lighted a Roman candle, which he had just purchased. The balls from the Roman candle, fired promiscuously about the store, fell, into fireworks on the long counter, and in an instant the whole store was a seething mass of flames, with horror added to horror by the terrific explosion of thousands of pieces of fireworks.

Mr. Davis Shaw, operator of the store, realizing the im¬pending tragedy, rushed to the inebriated customer and shoved him outside the store, in the hope of preventing the tragedy, and when he turned a moment later to re-enter the place, which had been turned into an inferno, the front door suddenly shut in his face prob¬ably caused by the terrific detonations of bursting fireworks inside.

An alarm of fire was sent in and the firemen, under the able direction of Chief Ben Mills made a record run. In an instant they had their hose playing on the flames, and soon subdued them.

Meantime, those inside the store were making frantic ef¬forts to reach the outside. Mr. Paul Padgett, with his son, Hugh, were customers, and when the firing started, made an effort to get outside, but found the door shut in their face…

More of the story is in the paper.

One a graduate of Class Of 1928, Two in Junior Class This Term and Two in Fifth Grade

The tragedy of 'Monday afternoon took the lives of four young people who were attending the local public schools, while a fifth was a graduate of the class of 1928.

Miss Mary Parks Kennedy was a member of the graduating class of thirty-six receiving her diploma on May 21st. last. She had recently matriculated at Draughon's Business College, in Atlanta, for a secretarial course and had looked forward to its completion with the fondest contemplation, No more lovable girl ever attended Cartersville High, and in her class she was a favorite, and an acknowledged leader in 'all school activities.

Miss Mary Belle Dodd and Miss Frances Shaw were members of the Junior Class, of 1928-29, and both of these young girls had shown a mark¬ed efficiency in their school work, as well as being acknowledged two of the most popular members of the student body.

Master William Shaw and Master Hugh Padgett were in the fifth grade, and although quite young, had made favorable impressions, which bid fair to increase with the passing years.

Seldom it is that a school suffers the loss of four of its popular students, and a graduate in such a horrible manner as that in which all of these young people were stricken down by the tragedy of Monday afternoon here.

Four Children Buried Tuesday; Fifth Wednesday

Double Funeral for Shaw Children at First Baptist Church -Miss Dodd at One O'clock and Miss Kennedy at 2:30

Four children, all of them victims of the fireworks explosion, were buried Tuesday, and funeral services for the fifth victim, Hugh Padgett, were held Wednesday morning at the Baptist Tabernacle.

Funeral services for Frances and William Shaw, daughter and son of Mr. and Mrs. C. D. Shaw, were held jointly at the First Baptist church Tuesday morning at ten o'clock.
The bodies of the children were borne from the home, corner Etowah Drive and West Avenue, where they had remained since Monday evening.
The church was filled with a great throng of heart-broken relatives and friends, and the pastor, Dr. I. A. White conducted the impressive service. A quartette composed of Mrs. T. V. Gemes, Mrs. T. J. Champion, Jr., Mr. Arthur Edwards and Judge William T. Townsend, rendered during the service, "Some Day We'll Understand" and "Abide 'With Me." Mrs. Townsend accompanied the quartette on the organ.

Following the service at the church, the last rites were completed at the grave-site in Oak Hill Cemetery…

More of the story is in the paper.

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