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Moose Lake will mark anniversary of 1918 fire

The Fires of 1918 Museum will honor the 98th anniversary of the 1918 Fire at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8, at the Soo Line Event Center, 900 Folz Blvd., Moose Lake. Oct. 12 will mark the actual anniversary of the “awfullest fire” in the history of this area took so many lives, homes and businesses.

The last known Moose Lake area fire survivor, Hazel Molis, died recently at the age of 99, so there will be no survivors at this year’s program. Molis was featured in a Pine Journal story last October, when she remembered her mother talking about the day the fire just missed their farm outside of Sturgeon Lake.

According to the "Fires of Autumn": 1,500 square miles were destroyed by fire over a region encompassing 8,400 square miles; 453 people were killed outright, 85 were badly burned and 106 were killed by influenza and pneumonia that followed on the heels of the fire; 11,382 families were displaced; and 52,371 people were injured, disrupted, or affected to some degree.

At least 4,089 houses were destroyed, as well as 6,366 barns, 41 school buildings (including the brand-new "fireproof" high school building in Cloquet), and 4,295 farm animals and 54,083 chickens perished.

Tony Tracy, director of the Douglas County Historical Society, will speak about the city of Superior’s involvement in the relief effort on Saturday. Carol Illikainen will be available to sign copies of “Fire Beast.” Memory candles will be available for purchase and lighting. Coffee and cookies will be served after the program.

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