New Jersey Obituaries - October 19, 1898 - Mrs. John H. Coffer

Burned To Death

A Fatal Accident at Seabright on Saturday

Mrs. John H. Coffer of Seabright was burned to death at that place on Saturday. Her husband was sick in bed in a room upstairs. Mrs. Coffer put some kerosene oil in a basin to heat on the stove, in order to use it as a linament (sic) for her husband's chest. When she took the basin off the stove the oil spilled out, some on the floor and some on the stove, and it caught fire. Mrs. Coffer was enveloped in flames in an instant. She ran screaming upstairs, and on reaching the landing in her fright she turned to go back, but sank on the steps.

Her husband heard her cries and he got out of bed and went to help her. He found her lying on the stairs, and tried to get her up to put out the fire. The flames were driving up the stairway from the fire in the room below, and Mr. Coffer was forced back. He ran back upstairs and got out of a window on the roof of the porch, to lower himself to the ground. He thought if he could shut off the flames from the room below he could yet save his wife. He had burned his hands terribly when he was trying to lift his wife, and as he swung himself down from the roof of the porch the entire inside of his burned hand was torn out.

Mr. Coffer succeeded in stopping the flames and he smothered the blaze on his wife's clothing with a mattress. Mrs. Coffer, however, was so frightfully burned that she died the next day. Her eyes were burned out, and her flesh was charred in a number of places. The body was sent to Virginia for burial.

Mr. Coffer's injuries were very serious and this morning he was taken to the Long Branch hospital for treatment.

The damage to the house was not great, the fire being put out before the flames had gained much headway. The carpets and some of the furniture were destroyed.

Source: Red Bank Register, Wednesday, October 19, 1898