January 30, 1910
FIRST CHURCH OF CHRIST, SCIENTIST.
Beautiful House of Worship Almost Totally Destroyed Last Night by Fire.
Four charred walls is all that remains of the First Church of Christ, Scientist, at Ninth street and Forest avenue, which cost its congregation $150,000.
Fire broke out in the basement of the building, near the west end, at 8 o'clock last night. Despite the constant playing of ten streams and the concerted action of as many fire companies, it burned steadily and fiercely to the ground, furnishing one of the most spectacular fires which has occurred in Kansas City for many years. The loss is estimated by J. K. Stickney, president of the board of trustees, about $155,000. The insurance was $85,000.
The flames were first noticed by T. Russel, who owns apartments next door to the church at 912 Forest avenue, at 8:05 o'clock. At that time smoke was issuing form a window leading into the boiler rooms. The first alarm brought No. 5 and No. 8 companies.
Firemen broke into the rear of the church on the alley, but at first failed to locate the blaze. So confident were they, however, that it was already beyond control that a second alarm was turned in and companies 14, 10, 11, 25, 2 and 3 were sent. By this time a bright, red glare flamed from the second story followed by tongues of eager flame which reached from the old auditorium toward adjoining apartments.
It was stated by Chief John C. Egner last night that had the church not been located at one of the highest points of the city, where the water pressure is seldom above forty pounds, the fire might have been checked at the outset. Waiting for the heavy engines to be dragged over slippery streets probably doomed the building.
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, was built of gray stone and furnished in Flemish oak. It was considered fireproof when it was erected, thirteen years ago. Because of the many prominent names connected with its building, as well as its maintenance, the fire attracted an unusually large crowd for one so far from the business district. People came from Kansas City, Kas., Sheffield and Westport to see, and stood about, shivering, for nearly three hours.