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Jim Kershner’s This day in history

Tue., Aug. 24, 2010

From our archives, 100 years ago

The Big Burn in Idaho and Montana has been well-documented, yet an equally tragic drama played out at the same time in northeastern Washington.

Two funerals were held in Newport on this date in 1910, a direct result of huge fires fanned by the same windy conditions that hit the Bitterroots.

One of the funerals was for Mrs. Ernest (Ida) Deinhardt, who took refuge in the cellar under her home when the fire swept over Saddle Mountain. Her 11-year-old son realized the burning house was about to collapse and tried to get her to leave, but she wouldn’t. He ran out and took refuge in a hole created by a fallen tree. She burned to death.

The Spokesman-Review called the funeral “most pitiable.” Her husband and two sons looked on, swathed in bandages around the face and hands. They were “deeply affected.”

The other funeral was for George R. Campbell, who was found burned to death in his garden.

The town of Newport barely escaped destruction as burning embers rained onto the town.

(Thanks to Faith McClenny of the Pend Oreille County Historical Society for providing background information.)

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

79: Long-dormant Mount Vesuvius erupted, burying the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum in volcanic ash; an estimated 20,000 people died.



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