Bio: Ballerstein, Otto (Fatal Fire-1910)

Contact: Ann Stevens



Surnames: Ballerstein, Bornowoski


----Source:  Neillsville Times (Neillsville, Clark County, Wis.)  09/29/1910


Ballerstein, Otto (Fatal Fire-Sept 26, 1910)


Last Monday evening the Abbotsford House was completely destroyed by fire, and Otto Ballerstein, a machinist’s helper, lost his life in the flames. 


The fire was discovered about 10:30 after most of the occupants of the house were in bed and asleep.  The flames had gained such headway that many of those who did escape from the building were clad only in their night clothes.


The building was one of the older structures of the town and was built almost entirely of pine.  This burned with such rapidity that all the fire department could do was to keep the fire confined to its starting place.  Several times the opera house on the south side was in danger, but prompt use of the chemical engines together with the liberal use of the Soo Line’s fire hose saved the building.


The body of Ballerstein was not discovered until 2:30 a.m., when those watching the fire noticed that the smoke arising from a certain part of the ruins seemed to be very peculiar, and on closer examination the body was discovered in the basement where it had fallen when the building collapsed.  It was rescued and found to be in terrible condition.  The head and both arms had burned away, and one leg was gone up as far as the knee.


The body was removed to the opera house and an inquest held which resulted in a verdict of death by burning.  The remains were turned over to the relatives for burial.


Otto Ballerstein was the step-son of Adolph Bornowoski, who lives in the town of Frankfort, about six miles east of Colby.  He was 22 years of age and had been working at the round house as a machinist’s helper for about two months. - Abbotsford Clarion



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