Culpeper Volunteer Fire Department Historical Notes

One Man Killed, Several Injured

Fatal Fire Casts Gloom Over Easter Festivities at Culpeper

Culpeper, Va., April 13, 1914 – One man was killed, several were injured and $50,000 damage by a fire that destroyed four of Culpeper’s largest commercial buildings to-day. Carter Parr, nineteen years old, nephew of L. B. Nelson, a local merchant, was killed by falling walls, and Robert Rosson, twenty years old, was seriously hurt. Five other volunteer firemen were injured.

The Fire was caused by an explosion of a gasoline stove in Bell’s Bakery, a large brick building on Davis Street, in the heart of the business district, and spread with such rapidity that in a short time the Culpeper Harness building, on the right, the Yancey building. On the left, were in flames. Before the flames were subdued all of these large buildings were burned, as well as the Eclipse Theatre.

The large Culpeper Theater and Emmett Garage and the Masonic Temple, at the corner of Davis and East Streets, were damaged. The wholesale department of the Goodloe & Company store was completely destroyed, and much other property suffered.

In trying to save the contents of the Culpeper Harness store a number of men and boys were caught under the falling walls of the Eclipse Theater. Robert and Glenmore Rosson were badly burned, and several others, among them Mercer and Powell Jones, were taken out unconscious and badly cut. Louis L. Whitestone, former postmaster of Culpeper, was badly cut and bruised, and Carter Parr, the young son of Mr. and Mrs. Wade Hampton Parr, was found dead. Young Rosson is also in a critical condition and is not expected to live. (Robert Rosson passed within a few days of the incident.)

The volunteer fire company did valiant service, but the explosion of many drums of gasoline in two of the buildings scattered the flames to such an extent that it was impossible to save the buildings.

The tragedy has thrown a gloom over the town, which is full of visitors for the Easter holidays, and many entertainments and other affairs have been cancelled.

(Copied from the Times Dispatch, 14 April, 1914)