"The Alfred Sun, Wednesday, March 21, 1900, Alfred, NY
A TERRIBLE FIRE.
Last Sunday morning the inhabitants of this community received a shock, which,, while it excited the sensibilities, at the same time touched the inmost hearts and sympathetic natures of all, when it was learned the the home of Eugene Ferrin, who lives in a house belonging to Wm Ostrander, situated three miles from this village on the McHenry Valley road, was burned to the ground, together with the entire contents and two of the Ferrin's children had perished in the flames.
About twelve o'clock Saturday night Mrs. Ferrin arose and put a chunk of wood in the stove to keep the fire unti morning. She then retired again and her attention was soon attracted by a reflection of light which proved to be a fire which had started around the stove pipe hole down stairs. Mrs Ferrin gave her husband the alarm and went to the stair door and called the three older children who were sleeping overhead, two boys in one room and a little girl in another. They answered and the little girl came down. The fire was at first apparently not very serious and Mr. Ferrin endeavored to extinguish the flames with tow pails of water which were handy; but this amount being insufficient and the water privileges being very inconvenient, he was obliged to abandon the effort.
When it became apparent the house would be destroyed, Mrs. Ferrin rushed out of the house with her baby and little girl.
Seeing that the boys did not come down stairs in response to the call, Mr. Ferrin became alarmed for their safety and started up the stairs to rescue them but was met by a wall of seething flame which caused him to retreat. He then rushed out of the house and after procuring a ladder climbed to the chamber window which was located near the bed in which the boys had been sleeping. We are informed that when Mr. Ferrin broke through the window he found that the children had left their bed and were in the opposite corner of the room cut off from him by the flames so that it was impossible to effect their rescue. In his efforts to save the children he was very badly burned, the hair being burned from his head and his hands and one side of his face being entirely blistered. The two boys who were cremated were aged 9 and 3 years. Mr. and Mrs Ferrin and the other two children escaped with nothing save their night clothes and walked one third of a mile to Mr. Otrander's in their bare fee. The night was severely cold, the thermometer standing at eight below zero, and their feet were badly frozen from the exposure. They are at present at the home of Mrs. Ferrin's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Henry McIntosh, and it will be some time before they recover from the burns and effects of exposure. Mr. and Mrs Ferrin have the sincere sympathy of the entire community in their great calamity and bereavement, and several parties are busily engaged in collecting effects to aid them in their time of need. Surely this is a Christian duty, and we trust that all will join in bearing these heavy burdens that they may be made as light as possible for those on who they will fall with crushing weight. The remains of the little ones were placed in a casket together and interred in Woodlawn Cemetery Monday afternoon."
Helen was born four years after the fire. She was later adopted by the Lippincotts. Her older brother, the baby in the fire, came looking for her when she was 15 years old. Until then, she hadn't known she was adopted.