Friday, November 12, 2010

1955 Fire at the Jorenby Farm

I was recently given a news tidbit from the Brookings Register dated November 6, 2010.  The article "Memories from Brookings Past", notes:
55 years ago 1955
... The farm home of Mrs. Stella Jorenby on the west side of Lake Campbell was destroyed by fire.  ...
The intersting part of this is that cousin Shari, from the Laabs side of my family, recently mentioned this fire at the farm.  Here's what Shari remembers:
When [Stella] first moved to the Lake Campbell farm, the house was an old structure that had once served as a hotel and post office for the town of Lake City, a town that did not survive. Her house was the last remnant of the town, though the farmhouse I lived in had an addition that was said to have come from a house in Lake City. Sometime in the mid fifties, the Jorenbys installed an oil or gas furnace in the basement. The sons were doing the work themselves and unfortunately did not vent the furnace. The first time it was fired up, it burned the house down in the middle of the night. They replaced the house with a prefab ranch house that was not completed on the inside. They spent many years completing that house.
Shari's brother Doug remembered the fire a little differently:
According to [Doug] the fire occurred in the daytime, and the Brookings fire truck drove into our yard looking for their farm. Although our farms abutted, they were not connected by a road, so the firetruck had to go about four miles farther to get there and of course were too late to save anything. Doug says that the Jorenbys had bought a wood-burning furnace, not an oil furnace, and that they intended to burn corncobs in it. For that reason they had had the cornsheller deposit the cobs in their basement, rather than in a pile in the yard. Of course the basement full of corncobs was great tinder for the fire.
To my Jorenby cousins, can anyone verify the details of this fire for me?

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