Totem Pole Tales- Where were you when the American Wood Rim Company burned? Part II
Submitted by Nute Chapman
From Onaway Outlook June 27, 2014

Caption : Disastrous Fire of American Wood Rim Plant Onaway, Jan. 14, 1926 
width="800" width="800" Carl Badgero, " I was in the fifth-grade and Bessie Smith was my teacher. Cameron Aikens and myself headed to the fire before the last bell and when we got there Art Aikens sent us back to school. I was only there a few minutes and I raised my hand to go to the bathroom. Once there two other boys, I crawled out the bathroom window and returned to the fire. By noon we had been rounded up and put back in school."
Clarissa (Riley) Fitzpatrick, "I remember my other carrying me out on the porch, and we could see the smoke and fire. Dad worked there, but that day he was home, sick with the flu.
The flu may have saved his life, as four men died and a number were injured."
Orin Sherman, Orin informed me that they lived on the County Line at that time and that his father was employed at The American Wood Rim Company and worked in the bending room.
Alice Young, "I was teaching Onaway Junior High School in my first year of teaching."
Ray Young, " I was employed by Hudson Motors in Detroit, when I learned about the fire, but my first job was at The American Wood Rim Company, I was 13 years old that summer and kept stalling off getting my work permit turned in, until my 14th birthday in October. I worked in the finish department wiping steering wheels. My badge number was 248. John Lepard was the watchman at the time."
Les Wilkinson, "Sure I remember the fire. We walked from south of Tower to see what was going on. The fire changed Onaway forever." Orvil (Baldy) McQuaid, "Yes I remember the fire, I sat on the fire hydrant down by the Shell gas station, and watched the fire, and watched my Dad and Uncle Donald Hoffmeyer climb down a pipe on the outside of the building to escape the fire. That's how they got out of the building."
I will have more Old Timer's information later.
From the Onaway Outlook, June 27, 2014, page 7.
Retyped by J. Anderson

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