This Day in Dayton, 2 February
In February 1873, the Presbyterian church nearly caught fire. On Sunday, February 2, the sexton apparently had trouble getting the wooden church warm in time for the service. To speed things up, he added a little coal oil from a can that was nearly empty, probably requiring him to hold the can, spout down, above the fire. The can exploded and set fire to his clothing and the area around the stove. He grasped the bell rope and gave several short pulls, giving the fire alarm. He then rushed outside and rolled in the snow, but the fire was stubborn. The sound of the bell brought several people to the scene, who put out the fire in the sanctuary. The flames on his clothing were finally extinguished, but he was seriously burned. (Journal, Feb. 11, 1873).