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Opinion >  Column

100 years ago in Spokane: Evidence was mounting against Mrs. Corbin’s lover in the mansion arson trial

 (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives )
(Spokane Daily Chronicle archives )

The fire at the landmark D.C. Corbin home was not caused by defective electrical wiring, defective light fixtures or defective fuse plugs, according to an electrician on the witness stand.

What was it caused by?

The prosecution alleged arson, which is why Louis Lilge, the home’s caretaker and Anna Corbin’s live-in lover, was on trial for first-degree arson. Lilge and his defense team, however, insisted the fire was an electrical malfunction.

The electrician denied that.

“There was no place in the entire home where it looked to me as if the fires could have been caused by defective wiring,” he testified.

An assistant fire chief testified that he found what appeared to be several sources of the fire, including one in a basement woodpile, one in the attic and one on the first floor. This was the first indication that the fire may not have been accidental.

Another fire investigator testified that the area of the fire on the first floor “had the appearance of being soaked with gasoline.”

The investigator also said he found indications that oil-soaked rags had been used in starting the fire.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1972: President Richard Nixon signed Title IX, barring discrimination on the basis of sex for “any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.” (On the same day, Nixon and White House chief of staff H.R. Haldeman discussed using the CIA to obstruct the FBI’s Watergate investigation. Revelation of the tape recording of this conversation sparked Nixon’s resignation in 1974.)

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