A most distressing, and as now reported, a fatal gasoline accident occurred at No. 611 East Central Avenue, near the Santa Fe railway, at 3 o’clock yesterday, in which Miss Emma Shepherd, 14 years old, was frightfully burned.
The particulars obtained by an Eagle reporter, who was on the spot within half an hour after the accident are as follows: Mrs. Shepherd, wife of Mr. T.J. Shepherd, began to fill the reservoir of a gasoline stove in the kitchen, having the gasoline in a pitcher. The burner is somewhat defective and the light cannot be entirely shut off. The family were all in the room but none can tell exactly whether some of the gasoline spattered or dropped from the pitcher on the blaze or whether the heated pipes caused the fluid to explode. At any rate it exploded and that in the pitcher ignited and burned Mrs. Shepherds hands, upon which she threw the pitcher upon the floor. The burning fluid blazed all over the floor and caught Emma’s dress whereupon she ran out upon the street. Mrs. Shepherd ran into the front room. All the family were excited and nobody knew the girl was on fire. Mr. Shepherd set about extinguishing the flames in the house and his father-in-law came in from the barn to assist him. On going out after more water the burning girl was seen and both men rushed to her rescue and tore the burning clothes from her body sustaining frightful burning of their own hands in the act. The girl was then carried into a vacant house adjoining the residence and laid down upon a cot. Drs. Oldham and McBurnie were summoned and were doing all in their power for the unfortunate girl. Her back and neck were frightfully burned, and her breast and face also, though to a less degree. The doctors covered her body with cotton batting saturated with linseed oil and made every possible effort to relieve her, although they said the chances were against her. Mrs. Shepherd had her hands done up in batting and oil and Mr. Thurston had both his hands in a sling. Mr. Shepherd was found down cellar with both hands soaking in milk, expecting to draw the inflammation out that way. Miss Clara Lynch rendered great assistance to the afflicted family. Our reporter visited the scene again about 7 p.m., and learned from Miss Lynch, who was in attendance, that the poor girl was resting more quietly, but about 9:30 a gentleman called at the Eagle office and reported that the girl had died.
LATER – Our reporter visited the house again at 11 o’clock last night and learned that the poor girl died suddenly about fifteen minutes after he had left in the evening, viz., at 7 o’clock. The Wichita Eagle, Wichita, Kansas. August 13, 1885. Page 4. © Transcribed by Darren McMannis for the Kansas Council of Genealogical Societies, Inc.