Christmas Tree Fire
(1943)

INTRA-BUREAU CORRESPONDENCE

UNITED STATES BUREAU OF PRISONS
UNITED STATES PENITENTIARY
ALCATRAZ, CALIFORNIA

DATE: December 22, 1943

TO: Mr. James V. Bennett, Director, Bureau of Prisons, Washington, D.C.

RE: Fire in Apt. 203, Building "C"

At about 2:15 P.M. Sunday, December 19, 1943, there was a fire in the Apartment No. 203, Building "C", occupied by Senior Officer Stanley W. McKean. Mrs. McKean telephoned to the Armory to report the fire. She had already used an extinguisher and had it under control. Associate Warden Miller and Record Clerk Sundstrom went immediately from the Administration Building to the McKean apartment and Senior Officer Winegar, who was on duty at the dock, proceeded to the apartment with several chemical extinguishers. When they arrived at the apartment they found the fire out but the room smoky and the floor wet from the extinguishers. They had put up a Christmas tree the day before and it appears that the electric light wires on the tree had fused and set the tree on fire. Mrs. McKean and her daughter put it out with the extinguishers.

The trimmings were ruined but the only damage to Government property was the partial destruction of the rug which the Associate Warden and Chief Clerk estimated to be about 50%.

In connection with the above, it is our custom to examine all Christmas trees and the lighting of same in all places on the Island. We do this regularly every year according to plan. This year the inspections were made by Associate Warden Miller and Mr. Steere, the Electrician, and they were making their examinations in the regular manner but this fire in the McKean apartment had occurred before they reached there.

J.A. Johnston
Warden

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