Maine Chance Night Watchman Admits Negligence in Blaze at Arlington Park: Gilbert Jones Confesses Placing Electric Heater in Room, Then Going Asleep, Daily Racing Form, 1946-05-07


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Watchman Admits Negligence in Fire FireGilbert Gilbert Jones Confesses Placing Electric Heater In Room Then Going Asleep AsleepContinued Continued from Page One Onewas was a cool night This room is usually oc ¬ cupied by Billy Square and Ernest Smith both of whom were in Chicago at the time I then left this room and left the heater on went in Joe Carters room which is located on the east side of the stables and fell asleep I was asleep about three and onehalf hours and was awakened by the screaming and kicking of horses and the smell of smoke I then ran to the tack room No 38 where I had left the heater on I opened the door and flame and smoke came out in my face I did not see any fire at all until I opened the tack room door Before I went to sleep I believe I was intoxicated from drinking whiskey and when I awoke I was in a dazed condition After opening the tack room No 38 1 then ran to the other side of the stable and started to open the stall doors and let the horses out The fire seemed to start burn ¬ ing the entire stable at the same time and there was nothing more I could do in re ¬ leasing the horses horsesTwentyone Twentyone of the 22 horses who per ¬ ished in the blaze probably the worst in turf history were regarded as the finest collection of twoyearold thoroughbreds housed under one barn in the country They had been sent to Arlington Park to be given a special training grind while the outstanding threeyearolds in the string namely Lord Boswell Knockdown Perfect Barham Star Pilot Colony Boy as well as several other juveniles were sent to Churchill Downs for the Derby and other races in that area areaBlue Blue Fantasy in Serious Condition ConditionThose Those to meet an untimely death in the fire were the threeyearold Sugar Lea and the twoyearolds Star of Night Admiral general Big Miracle Blue Angel Chance Mascot Fire Gold Gay Beau Gracious Me OClipper Pink Pompon Pink Rose Ro sario Samson Soft Answer Slim Jim Sunny Brae Super Lassie The Bat War Comet White Lace and Gay Emperor Blue Fantasy a 46000 yearling purchase was saved from the blaze but is still in a serious condition conditionSaved Saved and unscathed from the confla ¬ gration was Beaugay voted the best two yearold of last year Jean Miracle Nigh Life Harveys Pal Esteemed One and War Date DateFollowing Following is the full statement released yesterday by the Illinois Racing Board The Illinois Racing Board completed its investigation concerning the disastrous fire that destroyed 22 horses belonging to Mrs Elizabeth Grahams Maine Chance racing stable stableThe The confession of Gilbert Jones the watchman employed by the stable and ob ¬ tained by Lt Peter Madura and his staff of the Cook County Highway Police tells a full and complete story of the gross neg ¬ ligence on the part of Watchman Jones JonesThe The watchman admits having turned on an electric lieater in a small bedroom where the fire started and then engagec in a drinking orgy that lasted for severa hours after which he went sound asleep and was finally awakened by the scream ¬ ing and kicking of horses in their frantic effort to escape the fire that began to en ¬ velop the stable Most of this evidence 1 corroborated by other witnesses witnessesThe The Illinois Racing Boards investiga ¬ tion disclosed the fact that all Arlington Parks electric wiring is enclosed in fire ¬ proof conduits The electric lights were on according to several vitnesses until the barn was entirely engulfed in flames A fire hydrant stood within 60 feet of the barn equipped with 500 feet of two am onehalf inch hose with a water pressure of 80 pounds It was the equivalent of that used in the City of Chicago and capable of combatting any type of fire These fire e plugs are also located throughout the en ¬ tire stable area areaIt It is therefore very regrettable that a misfortune of this kind should have oc ¬ curred under these circumstances to Mrs 3 Elizabeth Graham who is such a fine e sportswoman and who has been such a great credit to American racing likewise it Js regrettable that the accident should i have occurred at Arlington Park where e every effort has been made to maintain one of the finest equipped racing plants in J the country

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