January 31, 1914: Accident Mixing Chemicals Causes Fire and Injuries


By Margaret Leidy Harner from her book One Day at a Time: A Social History of Boyertown, PA.

January 31, 1914: While mixing chemicals in his drug store, Dr. Alvah Greaves was enveloped by flames when he accidently dropped the compound onto the gas burner. He rushed outside where two friends extinguished the fire by wrapping him in wet burlap bags. Much of his body has been affected.

The Friendship and Keystone Fire Companies responded to the blaze, and the density of the smoke made it very difficult to fight it. It is estimated that there is $4000 damage to the drug store and the four apartments in the building at 16 South Reading Avenue.

Mrs. Susan Boyer, an invalid, had to be carried from the building to escape the smoke. Dr. Greaves spent months in St. Joseph’s Hospital in Reading, recovering from his wounds. He needed several surgeries on his left leg to enable him to use it again.

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