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The Night of the Fire as told  by Pat Comptom   

Employee in the Probate & Juvenile Courts 28 years

     It was Thursday night, January 8, 1981, on a very cold night.I was sitting in my living room about ready for bed, the scanner was on, and I heard an Ohio State Patrol member saying that he was in front of the court house, the court house was on fire and the sheriff's office was moving prisoners to another jail.I looked out my front door and I could see some smoke.  I immediately called the Judge, The Honorable Thomas S. Moulton, and told him what I heard.
     He came to the parking lot and I also went over.  The first thing I did was to go in, open the money drawer, put our money in the money bag, hand it to Tom, and he put it in his car.
     About this time there were a lot of people in the parking lot and they started helping us.  We loaded some things in cars, took some to Ruth Tap's house across the street, and put all papers that were on the desks, journals, indexes, typewriters and everything else we could get our hands on into the two large steel vaults located in my office.  Henny Evans and the 1980 book club group had spent a good part of the day packaging books to be mailed in our court room and they were also put in the vaults.  The vault doors were closed and locked.  At this time, the fire department said it was time to get out. The photographs tell the rest of the story of that night.

[See photographs on the preceding page, frame number ccf.jpg, Henny Evans and Pat Compton watching the court house burn and the city park photo.  It was a very cold night.]

     Someone told us that the auditor's office had taken our pay checks to the Gallipolis Municipal building across the street, so that's where we went the next morning.
     Now I can't remember if we went in the court house on Saturday or waited until the following Monday.  Josette Baker, the O. O McIntyre Park Director, made arrangements with a group home located at Zaleski, Ohio to get us some help in moving to the old Gallipolis Library located on State Street. This group came, we formed a line at the vaults, and handed everything out. Well, guess what, EVERYTHING WAS SAVED.
     We finally got moved and started to work, cleaning and drying out papers.  I remember that we had a telephone line in the basement of the library and when the phone rang, we would pound on the ceiling with a broom handle for the upstairs people to answer.  The Judge and Josette were on the first floor and probate and juvenile court employees were in the basement.
     This is sort of funny.  The next thing that happened to me personally, I got sick.  Had to go to the doctor and while being examined, I broke out with the "shingles'.  I was very sick.  The judge told me that if they went clear around my waist I would die. Well, just like our files, I am still here.

Pat Compton