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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

A fire destroyed the high school and eight houses in the mining town of Mace, Idaho, outside of Wallace.

The fire started in an overheated stove at about 2 p.m. in a residence two doors down from the high school. The homeowner tried to smother the flames with a mattress. The mattress caught fire and the flames roared even higher. 

Fortunately, the man was able to escape and spread the alarm, and there was apparently plenty of time to evacuate the nearby houses and the high school.

The fire department from Mace was joined by the fire departments from nearby Burke and Gem, but the fire spread rapidly from building to building. The school and the other buildings were razed.

This latest disaster compounded the problems for students in the area. Three months earlier, the Gem High School building had burned down. School authorities said, with considerable understatement, that housing students “for the remainder of the school year will be a serious problem.”

From the medical beat: Two men died at Deaconess Hospital and four were sick from typhoid fever after they drank tainted water while painting railroad bridges on the Snake River. The work crew apparently “drank the water that was convenient rather than that available at a distant spring.”

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