Monday, July 17, 2017

On This Date in Minnesota History: July 17

July 17, 1912 – While Louis Borgen, chief of the Moorhead fire department, was confined to his bed seriously ill, two girls, students at the Moorhead State Normal School, extinguished a blaze on the first floor of the Borgen residence this evening and probably saved the chief’s life.

Dora Fercig and Nellie Webster of Cloquet, Minn., were attending the summer session at the normal school, and boarding at the Borgen home. They were studying in the library of the Borgen residence shortly after 8 p.m. when they saw smoke issuing from the doorway of an adjoining room.

The girls decided that phoning the fire department or the neighbors would only give the fire time to grow, so they opened the door and fought the flames and dense smoke with pails of water. The noise awakened Chief Borgen and the excitement gave him strength to walk to the head of the stairs, from where he directed the girl firefighters. In 15 minutes the fire was out and the department had not been called.

Little damage, except from smoke, resulted.

The Minneapolis Morning Tribune; “Girls Rescue Fire Chief. Awaken Moorhead Official, Sick in Bed, When House is Ablaze.”; July 18, 1912; p. 1.


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