Galesburg Register-Mail from Galesburg, Illinois on October 15, 1963 · Page 14
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Galesburg Register-Mail from Galesburg, Illinois · Page 14

Galesburg, Illinois
Issue Date:
Tuesday, October 15, 1963
Page 14
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1 (Continued from page l) it. aaid he would have liked to bring more equipment to help, but protection of Galesburg had to be considered. "With something like this happening, you're not sure where another fire will break out," he said. "I never saw anything like this in 21 years/ 1 Nelson said. "This will be one of the biggest investigations in this part of the state." Investigators were streaming into the town this morninc. headed by Walter Parlier, deputy state fire marshal* and Gordon Sutherland, a special agent of the national board of fire underwriters. These men have been working with Monmouth officials the past five weeks in an effort to crack previous arson attempts at the Western Stoneware Co. and at the homes of some of the firm's executives. On Sept 9 a small blaze at the plant was suspected to be the work of an arsonist. One week later, an unknown caller said a bomb was planted in the building. An investigation failed to turn up any explosive. However, calls the same day to Marshall Romine, plant supervisor, advised him to look at the house of John Switzer and the garage of Wilbur Romine, department superintendents. They appeared to have been scorched by a blowtorch or similar piece of equipment. Since then the town remained quiet until the alarms last night. 100 Law Officers Arrive Helping patrol the streets and direct traffic last flight were some 100 law enforcement officials. State troopers, Knox and Warren County sheriff's depth ties, auxiliary police, civil defense workers, amateur radio operators, the Galesburg»Kno* County Emergency Disaster Unit all helped with the work. The Salvation Army from Galesburg and Macomb set up shop to supply coffee to the hard-pressed firefighters during the night. Power Restored Some power lines were knock* r ed out by the fires, and homes on the northern end of town were without power for awhile, but service was quickly restored. This morning Illinois Power Co. officials were emplacing new poles to replace those destroyed by the Fullerton fire. During the operations, fire balls the size of baseballs were dropping from high-power wires and making a sound like cherry bombs when they hit the pavement, Moore and Nelson said. This also made the work hazardous. Three Burlington trains were delayed because of the fire at the Fullerton yard, which is located next to the tracks. The mail trains, No. 29, No. 3, and No. 67, a freight, all westbound, were halted for periods ranging from 10 minutes to 35 minutes. .4 Tense wary 9 Exhausted Monmouth was a tense city today after a night filled with wailing sirens, clouds of black smoke, flying sparks and an unknown arsonist apparently lurking somewhere. The three fires at the Fullerton Lumber Co., Monmouth Lumber Co., and Monmouth Metal Culvert Co. plus three false alarms had the town alert* ed and standing guard all night. The story of Richard Merillat guarding his culvert firm, going for coffee, and the fire starting there five minutes later, spread like a pestilential plague through the town, making had been nabbed at the Stone* everyone nervous. ware firm, questioned at length Merchants came downtown, and released. "He was appar- turned on lights in their stores ently someone in the wrong and many remained on watch place at the wrong time," Ro- until 5 or 6 a.m. Herbert Lewine ma no said. He declined to re- said he came downtown to get vea i the person's identity. This cupi used to serve .coffee to same p i ant h as be en threatened firemen, and decided to stay wlth a caM and a small downtown. F , Galesburg Register-Mail Photos by Dale Humphrey, Phil Turney, Wilson Ureal Couldn't Sleep fire, and attempts to burn buildings owned by executives His comment was indicative have been noted after a caller of the temper of" Monmouth told them to look. when he said, "F couldn't sleep after that third fire, and there MONMOUTH LUMBER CO. ON W. BROADWAY, FIRST FIRE REPORTED Plans Under Wraps Romano also declined to dis- wasn't any use to try." He re- cuss p i„ ns f or patrolling the mained in the vicinity of his city during the hours of dark- store at the southwest corner of ness sa ying it would Up their the square until 5 a.m. when nand ' to tne arsonist; two emergency unit men took Because of the way the fires over vigilance in that block. were started anc | the num ber of Other auxiliary policemen and false alarms, police believe they civil defense workers divided may be dealing with more than up the business district. State one man> Da i e Moore, fire chief, troopers and other law enforce- said it had to be arson because ment men roved the streets in the buil din gs wou ld not flare up CA ![ JJ« A t u * i as rapidly unless something was Adding to the confusion was used to speed the burning. the dense smoke from asphalt Mildred.French, who lives stored in the lumber yards and next door to the Monmouth i um . the huge sparks that were; blown ^ fj had car kfid • "E*. « nd J , .? rthwest ,, by winds of her garage. The car could not •W^LSSlE^Lm lik be moved 8 out the south door be- JJp Z v£ ZZ J: cause of the proximity of the ened the flying sparks to a ., . th v £ hicle was driven Fourth of July display, but f' re '«»™ north w^lo" the without the jollity. Home dwell- ^SIL^I !3 w ?amlL 2 «-c «... «f«... «,« structure. The only damage to ers were out stamping out the ,„„„ ^./J i„ S |if_i,»„ ••'••IMF ft tfV V • 1 DOG RESTS AFTER CHASING FIRE TRUCKS ALL OVER TOWN. dry leaves, and garden hoses near at hand. The area has been without rain for weeks. But the greatest difficulty to face was the fact that an unknown person or persons was loose in the town, apparently setting fires at will. This caused many residents anxious hours during the night. With daybreak the situation did not appear as grim, but the thought of "What will happen tonight?" still haunted many minds. Police Chief Vincent Romano said this morning one suspect collapsed. The home of Mr. and Mrs. Cecil Poole, who live next door to the culvert plant, was evacuated during the operations there. The house is only about 25 feet from the structure, but it was not damaged due to efforts by the fire fighters. No Water Shortage Although some reports said there was a water shortage, city officials said there was plenty available for any future emergencies. Monmouth draws its (Continued on page 19) i 4i*iii| HJ* 1 r n • • -i i • h B r I • i H 1 u. t ,,[i p .1 b ' I ; -vrll:!»;,•.•!''• :...ti.i.ii..ri!;!i.'!. ^!;:.•'• - ^ . * J J- J . r , ,'Hir!I.jj;i:-jiiiij,',!':'!"i ki'-'U\\: : 1 1 ,.i '• ij J ' ' . - I +' M !.iii.' , ' . in ' ,i 'J >' r ( r*\' Hii ,>},\ , . , f • - i'Vi'iliiililijfiiii'i:'. ;//. .'.^K.-Wj , i^,- 1J7i; :,^' ; r,-'V ,;]'.),Jfliy •': -rkn .' l • ' '•:;!t ,!1 i . : . . -1 MA M [Hi I ffilff LUMBER FIREMEN REMAIN AT MONMOUTH LUMBER CO. THIS MORNING POURING WATER ON REMAINS OP BUILDING AND STOCK. MONMOUTH METAL CULVERT CO. ON W. THIRD AVE., THIRD FIRE REPORTED. i FIREMEN LOAD HOSE AT MONMOUTH LUMBER CO. AFTER RECEIVING CALL FROM FULLERTON FIRM A 1

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