Tragic fire takes life, guts business

Bellville Messenger, April 6, 1917

Miss Jessie Ireland, aged 21, was probably fatally burned and the interior of the Ireland Brothers’ garage at Mt. Gilead was destroyed by fire when fumes in a large gasoline tank exploded, shaking the whole town.

Miss Ireland was working in the office, near the repair shop, at the time of the explosion. She was hurled through a large plate glass window in the office by the force of the explosion and fell on the other side of the street, a distance of about 80 feet.

The interior of the building was soon gutted by the fire. Nine automobiles were destroyed and $1,000 worth of new tires.