Camp Hill House Fire - 1997

Story from the May 1997 LWMA Sentinel (School Newspaper)

Alumni News

On January 17, 1997, an event took place in Camp Hill that bonded two people connected with the school. CPT Joe Watson our band director investigated dogs barking and found a red glow in the sky. As he walked toward it, he realized it was a house on fire. The house belonged to Eunice Langley, Class of 1922, and was fully involved. Realizing she was still in the house, CPT Watson broke down the front door and found her on the sofa. She did not realize the house was on fire. Unable to walk her out, he dragged her through the room to the front door just as the flames burst in the room. Both of them escaped unharmed, but the house was a total loss.

Miss Langley is the granddaughter of D.A.G. Ross, who was a large contributor in starting the school in 1898. Ross Hall was named in his honor. Miss Langley was secretary and bookkeeper to Dr. Ward in 1930-34. CPT Watson joined LWMA as band director in 1980. This event in January affected the lives of two people connected with our school. We are thankful that no one was injured.


From the February 1999 Lyman Ward Sentinel

Alumni News - TAPS

Eunice Langley, class of 1922, died on Feb. 15, 1999. Burial was on Feb. 18 in Camp Hill. She was secretary and bookkeeper to Dr. Ward for several years (in the 1930's). She is survived by several nieces and nephews and one sister-in-law.


From Earl Langley, Eunice Langley's nephew.

Tue, Oct 12, 1999 6:57 PM

Yes Brian, the facts as you have stated them are correct!!! Joe did drag Miss Langley out of the house, which as stated, was fully involved. He really did not know whether she was home or not, even though her car was there. He had to kick in the front door to go in and look for her. She was in the front hall on a couch, after having taken a shower some time before. He pulled her out with nothing on but her house coat and such. Joe should have been given a medal for his very quick actions. Two more minutes, and it would have been too late to save Miss Eunice from the fire!! However, a nice story was written by Sam Wyckoff in the Dadeville Record giving credit to Joe and his dog . Joe ended up giving Onie more than two yrs. of life to enjoy with us. If you wish, I can find out exactly in what issue the story was carried. Since Miss Eunice was my Aunt, my father's sister, we should have several copies of the story somewhere at home.

After the fire, Miss Eunice came to live with my mother, still in Camp Hill of course. She stayed for a year before it became too much for my mother to handle alone. We moved Miss Eunice "Onie" to an assisted living facility outside Dadeville, where she lived until her death February 15, 1999, age 94. Onie would have been 95, May 27, 1999. You must know this also, this was the third time in her life that fire had burned her out. I don't know the dates, but sometime in the 20s and again in the 30s, fire destroyed the Langley family residence in Camp Hill. I could be completely wrong about the dates, however, I do think it has been three times????????????????????? I'll get back to you about this!!

A footnote to the story is that after I got out of the Navy in 1973, I moved into the very same house that burned. This was because my grandmother, who was 93 at the time, had fallen in 1972 and broken her hip. She was on the bed, and Onie was unable to care for her alone. My mother had practially moved in to help; so that is where I landed after the Navy. I stayed until 1977 when my mother (Myrtle Langley) and father moved into an apartment on main street in Camp Hill. Onie had help with my grandmother, so I moved back with my mother and father while job searching and working. My grandmother lived to be over 100 yrs. of age. She died in Nov. of 1979, a little over a month after her 100th birthday. To put that in perspective, she was born a little over 3 yrs. after "Custer's Last Stand"???? From that point forward, Onie stayed in that house by herself. However, she was almost never alone. That house continued to be the meeting place for the family for a good number of years. Only after Onie was into her late 80s did that slow down. She continued to drive until after she was 90! However, we had to stop her from driving, after getting too many reports of her driving in the middle of Hwy. 280 and running 18 wheelers off the road!!!!!!! I think that really hurt her in many ways; she had always been very independent, and that was quite a setback. After that, I noticed that her health quickly took a turn for the worse. Well, I did not intend to get started on a new version of the Waltons!!! However, one more thing!! After she left Lyman Ward (IN 1934), she was employed at Auburn University. I am not certain of the exact dates, however, I know whe was there for more than 30 years., (35 years in fact) having retired in 1969. She was the Sect. to head of the Department of Horticulture for ages. She was the last of the true expert typist. You remember them, 80 wpm, NO ERRORS!!!!!! I watched her type a billion words over the yrs. Some of them, my papers from high school and college.

Enough, a number of my personal items burned in that fire. I finished Auburn while in the house, so my diploma was there, along with many, many text books and papers. A good many of my Navy souvernirs were lost. Also, the most devistating loss to me were the Auburn Gloms (Yearbooks) that were burned. I, for some reason, started collecting them while in school, and after graduation, I continued to get one every year. I think I lost about 30 yrs. worth of Auburn Gloms, some from the mid-fifties. I may never replace all that I lost, but I have once again started collecting Auburn Gloms. I found a few I had removed for one reason or another, or some simply may have been duplicates. I recently purchased 4 Auburn Gloms from 1937-1940. My father is pictured in several and so is my mother's brother Alva. Alva's daughter heard what I was doing and gave me 4 more from her days in Auburn to add to my collection. Anyway, if you know of anyone who may have any Aub. Gloms, let me know who they are. I may want to play "Lets Make A Deal"!! I know, I know, I should get on the internet, either in one of the Auburn Clubs or in the message boards. I'll bet I could stir up a few Auburn Gloms that way???

As I said, I did not mean to get a new version of the Waltons started, but she did live an interesting life in a different time??? As I have come to find out, all our lives are more collectively bound together than we could ever imagine. Times, dates, places, people and things are woven into what I call that great quilt of what is Camp Hill and Lyman Ward!!!! There is so much more that could be written; it staggers the mind to try and put it together. Maybe someone can try someday to put it together?????

Take Care,
Earl Langley(CHHS '64)

Complied and Edited by Brian V. Brunner('64)

Return to the Stories Contents Page.

Return to the History Contents Page.

Return to the Alumni Home Page.