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June 07, 1950 - Image 1

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1950-06-07

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1Mw ujrn



Latest Deadline intthe State

L. LX, No. 169













pectators Help,


* * * *N


nder Firemen

Thousands Crowd Scene of Fire,
Scores of Students Volunteer Aid

(Daily Managing Editor)
A huge crowd, estimated at 20,-
000, watched, helped, and hin-
dered Ann Arbor firemen as they.
fought yesterday's disasterous Ha-
ven Hall fire.
Minutes after the billowing
white smoke began to pour from
the roof of Haven Hall, thousands
of students and townspeople had
completely ringed the burning
building, hindering firemen and
volunteers as they struggled to
bring hoses within effective range.
SOON AFTER city and state po-
lice had roped off the danger areas,
a burning sections of .ledges and
roofing began to fall where, only
a few minutes before, crowds of
onlookers had stood.
Scores of students Immediate-
ly volunteered their services to
Exams To Be
Given in Hill
Examinations scheduled for Ha-
ven Hall will be given at the regu-
lar times today and for the re-
maining exam period in Hill Audi-
torium, according to Dean Hay-
ward Keniston of the literary col-
Signs will designate the place
I-r specific courses in the audi-
torium and lapboards will be pro-
vided for students.
Dean Keniston estimated that
about 450 students were scheduled
for exams today in Haven Hall.
The exams were changed to Hill
Auditorium after a hasty confer-
ence held last night between Dean
Earl V. Moore, t.f the Music School
and University Vice President Rob-
ert P. Briggs.
Dean Keniston urged all stu-
dents and faculty members to
come to the auditorium 15 min-
utes early to facilitate exam ad-
EXAMINATIONS listed for 9
a.m. to 12 noon today in Hill Au-
ditorium are history 42, history
171, journalism 142, sociology 166
and 180.
Exam writing students will
not be disturbed by workmen
remodeling the Auditorium or-
gan, according to Dean Moore.
Work will be partially discon-
tinued and parts of the organ
will be moved out of the audi-
torium, but the work will be
finished this week, he said.
Vice President Briggs said he
will ask radio stations WHRV,
WPAG and WUOM to make spot

Ann Arbor's undermanned fire
One of the first hoses to reach
the second floor of the building
was dragged up a front fire es-
cape by 15 students, some in suits
and ties. Later, this same group
narrowly escaped injury when a
mass of blazing wreckage slid
from the roof, missing them by
only a few feet.
** *
SMALL GROUPS of students
and an occasional faculty member
plunged into the building repeat-
edly to rescue records, typewriters,
and stacks of newly-written blue-
books. Prof. Arthur Bromage, a
city councilman, vainly urged them
to stay out of danger as the flames
closed in.
But some, faculty and stu-
dents alike, faced with the loss
of unfinished doctoral theses and
documents representing years of
grueling work, remained in the
building until flames made fur-
ther search impossible.
An occasional bit of comic relief
brought cheers and laughter from
the crowd. Three students on the
second floor of the blazing build-
ing threw stacks of uncorrected
final bluebooks to "safety" below.
Fire hose couplings came loose
occasionally in the midst of the
crowd, drenching hundreds of stu-
dents to the skin. Very few left
to dry off, however.
Many journalism students, who
had been in the midst of final ex-
aminations when the fire routed
them from Havenl Hall, stood
among the crowd, their unfinished
bluebooks clutched in their hands.
One student finished his final on
the steps of Angell Hall and
searched through the crowd until
he found his professor. The blue-
book was accepted by the surprised
professor who commented that it
was "a little late but permissible
in the light of present circum-
An art student, completely ab-
sorbed in his work, sat with his
back to the scene of destruction,
calmly sketching a mother and
child who were watching the fire.
As darkness closed in, search-
lights were played on the still-
smouldering ruins, directing water
streams toward the remaining
danger spots.
And the feelings of the dwind-
ling crowd were expressed simply
but effectively by an Ann Arbor
housewife as she turned to leave.
"It's a tragedy," she sighed. "It's
a tragedy."
Sociology Offices
Moved to Mason
. Temporary departmental of-
fices for the sociology depart-

Ancient Building
Called Total Loss
Cause of Fire As Yet Undetermined;
Rumors of Arson To Be Checked
The University's 87-year-old Haven Hall was completely
gutted by a fire of undetermined origin yesterday despite the
efforts of firemen, police, and swarms of students and faculty
members who battled the blaze for more than four hours
before finally bringing it under control at 9 p.m.
Officials tentatively placed the loss at $3,000,000. The
building and. its., contents. were ..ompletely cQvered by_. Oe
insurance, they said.
Cause of the fire which apparently started in the attic
of the center section of the brick and sandstone building, has
not yet been determined but police and fire officials have
promised a full investigation.
Rumors of possible. arson will be fully checked, according to
Fire Chief Ben Zahn.
Six Ann Arbor fire trucks poured an estimated 700,000 gallons
of water into the flaming building which housed the departments of
history, sociology, and journalism and the University's extensive
Bureau of Government Library.
FIRE CHIEF ZAHN described the blaze as the worst Ann Arbor
fire which he has seen since joining the force 34 years ago.
The building was completely gutted, down to the ground
floor. Walls, floors and stairways were completely destroyed.
The fire was first noticed shortly after 4:30 p.m. simultaneously
by students and faculty members in various parts of the second and
third floors.
* * * *
INVESTIGATION disclosed smoke and flame pouring from the
attic which runs the entire length of the building.
By that time, a quick-thinking student, Alvin Kaplan, '51,
had set off the alarm system and calls were put in to the fire
The first trucks and police cars arrived five minutes after the
call was put in. As they drew up, students, many of whom had been
writing final examinations only minutes before, were filing out of
the building in an orderly fashion.
OTHERS WHO HAD snatched fire extinguishers and pushed to
the upper floors, were being forced down the stairways by smoke
and heat.
Several faculty members and graduate students attempted
to re-enter the building to save research work and documents.
Students from a gathering crowd which grew to immense pro-
portions - almost 20,000 at :one time according to police estimate
- rushed to help on the undermanned fire trucks.
MORE TRUCKS AND POLICE began arriving as the police
and fire departments called into action both their day and night
Meanwhile the fire was racing the entire length of the attic
and breaking through the roof of the three-story structure at
both ends.
Students from the journalism department lugged a score of
typewriters and the Associated Press Teletype machine out onto the
lawn in front of Haven Hall. A few books and files were dumped
from the windows.

-Daily-Ed Kozma
HAVEN HALL GUTTED-Flames of undetermined origin completely destroyed the interior of Haven Hall late yesterday as hundreds

of students, faculty and firemen
from an airplane piloted by Bob
was described by Ann Arbor Fire

battled desperately to save the 87-year-old structure. This picture, taken by a Daily photographer
Gach, shows smoke from the three million dollar, blaze billowing high above the campus. The fire
Chief Ben Zahn as the worst fire in the city since he joined the force thirty-four years ago.

May Review
U' Budget
The State Legislature may want
to reconsider University appro-
priations, when it returns June
20, in the light of the destruction
of Haven Hall.
President Alexander G. Ruth-
ven said last night that he had
"told the legislature committee
for years what we could expect.
Some of these buildings have been
condemned for years."
The possibility that the Legisla-
ture may want to take action was
suggested by Gov. G. Mennen Wil-
liams who added that he will "im-
mediately look into the question
of rebuilding."
The University suggested to the
State Legislature in 1946 that
Haven Hall, Romance Language,
University Hall, South Wingand
Mason Hall be torn down and re-
placed by additions to Angell Hall.
The other buildings are of the
same brick and wood construction
as Haven. The plans for replace-
ment of some of them are already
made, according to Vice-President
Marvin Niehuss, but the money
has not been made available.
State Fire Marshall Arnold
t3 -.r.- - * san i1Y n n

Fire Destroys ears of Faculty Work

Several faculty members saw
years of their work disappear for-
ever among the flames that gutted
Haven Hall yesterday.
It was impossible last night to
ascertain how many manuscripts
of books, theses and research pro-
jects were destroyed, but many ir-
replaceable losses had already been

the history department, lost notes
representing 15 years of research
on the southern anti-slavery move-
ment, in addition to letters and
pamphlets on the subject. Ironi-
cally, he had completed the trans-
fer of the material to Haven Hall
yesterday morning, intending to

Student Gives Fire Alarm
AfterEncountering Smoke

write a two-volume work on anti-
slavery in the fall.
Prof. Dumond entered his see-
ond-floor office via a fireescape
at 7 p.m. yesterday, and rescued
a few anti-slavery pamphlets be-
fore firemen forced him to leave
the building. Five minutes later,
the roof collapsed on the office
where he had been struggling
to recover the pamphlets.
"There were so many personal
tragedies, it's difficult to enumer-
ate them," Prof. Theodore New-
comb, of the psychology and socio-
logy departments, said last night.
"Nearly everyone in our depart-
ment lost his entire professional
search material, he added, "espec-
ially Prof. Amos Hawley and Ron-
ald Freedman, who lost irreplace-
able research data that required
years to accumulate. Several doc-
toral candidates lost their entire
Prof. Palmer Throop, of the
history department, lost the
manuscript of a book he had
completed on the Italian ren-
aissance, plus the books on
which he had basedhis research,
and also his personal library.
"I will write the book again,"
Prof. Throop said last night.

(tDaily City Editor)
"I think your building is burn-
ing cown."
That was the first word of the
fire that journalism students on
the secornd floor of Haven flail
had yesterday afternoon. They
came from Alvin Kaplan, '51, 22
years old, of Grosse Pointe. He
was the first person to realize there
was a fire.
"I was going up to the third
floor of Haven Hall to see a pro-
fessor when I noticed smoke com-
ing out of the second floor room,"
Kaplan said.
T40S, im-.irfi n rni nA c P

pouring from the walls and ceil-
"I ran down to the journalism
offices where students were study-
ing and told them about it." Kap-
lan had read somewhere that you
are not supposed to get panicky,
so he talked quietly.
"Everyone believed me," he said.
After that he smashed a fire
alarm box. This was at 4:45 p.m.
"Then I went up to the third
floor to warn anyone up there," he
continued. "Smoke was coming
from the ceilings."
Kaplan thinks the fire broke out
in the roof.



AS THE CROWD GREW and police stretched guard ropes, the
fire raged furiously out of control. One fireman was slightly injured
in a fall from the east wall and several students were overcome by
smoke and treated in the Health Service.
Angell Hall was emptied and locked so that no one would
be caught should the fire spread. Heavy streams of water were
concentrated on southwest corner of Haven Hall where the 50,-
000 documents and books of the government library were going

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