December 21, 1909
Presence of mind displayed by Mrs. Wilhelmina Kimberling probably saved her life late yesterday afternoon, when a gasoline blow-pipe exploded in the office of Dr. Frank H. Newton, a dentist at 520 Minnesota avenue, Kansas City, Kas., throwing burning gasoline over her clothing and that of Dr. Newton. She ran screaming for aid from the little work room, where the explosion occurred, to the outer office, where she laid down on the heavy floor rug and folded it about her in an effort to check the flames.
Dr. Newton, whose clothing was also afire, raised a window and shouted for help, in the meantime smothering the fire in his clothes. Leslie Channel, a young man who lives in Quindaro, Kas., and his father Samuel Channel, heard the cries and ran upstairs. Mrs. Kimberling's clothing was still burning when they reached her, and Leslie Channel threw his overcoat about her. Dr. Newton, who sleeps in apartments adjoining his offices, carried a heavy comfort from his bed and folded it about her. The folds of the overcoat and comfort smothered the flames, but not until she had been seriously burned.
Drs. J. A. Fulton, W. H. McLeod, E. R. Tenney and J. S. Kline reached the scene of the accident soon afterward. The woman was given emergency treatment, and taken to Bethany hospital where it was said last night her condition was critical. She received severe burns on the arms, chest and legs. Her face was also burned, but the attending physicians said the burns there were superficial.
Both of Dr. Newton's hands were burned, and he also suffered a severe burn on the left leg. He was attended by Dr. Kline.
Mrs. Kimberling for several months has worked in the doctor's office. Her mother lives in Illinois. She has one daughter, Hazel, 5 years old, who lives with friends in Kansas City, Mo. Mrs. Kimberling is 23 years old and lived in apartments in the same building in which the accident occurred.
The gasoline blowpipe, which caused the accident, is used by dentists to melt the gold used in fillings and crowns. Dr. Newton said last night he did not know what caused the explosion, but supposed it was due to a defective connection. The dentist's blowpipe is similar to that used by plumbers for melting solder.