The Norman Transcript

Columns

March 2, 2014

Remembering fire victims, nearly a century later

(Continued)

NORMAN —

For nearly 100 years, the exact location of the grave was unknown. Deputy Fire Chief Jim Bailey and others became interested in marking the grave to remember the fire victims.

———

Bailey enlisted the help of hospital administrators and staff of the Oklahoma Archaeological Survey at the University of Oklahoma. Dr. Scott Hammerstedt ran ground penetrating radar twice on the area where the mass grave was believed to be located. He’ll discuss his findings in a talk at the hospital cafeteria at 6 p.m. March 25.

“We found something,” he said. “But without excavation you never can be sure. We found an anomaly around that size. We are reasonably sure but you can never be 100 percent sure.”

The site was one identified by a previous cemetery manager.

———

Bailey, something of a student of local history, knew about the fire from department lore and researched it with the help of the hospital and others.

“We knew about it and I was just curious. We started looking for the gravesite,” he said.

The idea is to raise money privately to fund a monument to the victims, much like the monument in western Oklahoma to the Babbs Switch school fire victims.

“It just doesn’t seem right that there is not some kind of memorial to them,” Bailey said. “It would be good to remember them.”

Andy Rieger

366-3543

editor@normantranscript.com

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