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La Grande, Union County, Oregon
Killed By Electricity, Prominent La Grande Man Met Death Suddenly Yesterday, Held Light Socket Working Under House, Exact cause of Accident will be investigated by Public Service Commission
Deceased was Prominent Elk–Funeral Sunday Afternoon
Frank Bay, one of La Grande’s most popular citizens was electrocuted yesterday afternoon about 4:45 o’clock while he was at work with his partner, Nate Zweifel, installing plumbing at the residence of Brakeman Anderson on North Second street. The news soon spread and it cast a great gloom over the city. Hardly anything else was the topic of conversation last night in La Grande.
Mr. Bay was an Elk, a prominent business man, a member of the firm of Bay & Zweifel, plumbers, a member of the Volunteer Fire Department, one of the originators and backers of the Elks band, prominent in the Elks’ “49” show, active in all civic undertakings and greatly beloved by everyone so that when the news was heard that he had been electrocuted many rushed to the scene of the accident and to the Bohnenkamp undertaking chapel where the remains were taken.
Mr. Zweifel and Mr. Bay had been working in the house installing plumbing. Shortly before the accident Mr. Zweifel was working on the first floor and Mr. Bay was working under the house with and electric light on a cord, connecting up pipes from the kitchen sink with the sewer. Mr. Zweifel was the first to discover the accident when he left the inside of the house and stepped to the hole by which they had entered the basement and called out: “Frank what measurements do you want for the next piece of pipe?”
Upon receiving no answer, he called several times. Finally, receiving no response he swung down into the hole, stepping on the ground of the basement and received a shock that knocked him backward. He knew instantly that his partner was in danger.
He pulled himself out of the hole and rushed upstairs, turning off the switches and then proceeded down and under the house where he discovered Mr. Bay laying across the sewer pipe. The electric light globe with which he had been working was still burning.
Mr. Zweifel telephoned for assistance and Dr. Richardson and the body was removed from under the house. His hand was found severely burned and his thumb burned off. His body was also severely burned.
There are several theories as to the cause of the accident. The house had been full of electricity all day and both Mr. Bay and Mr. Zweifel had noticed it. The telephone bell had been reported “noisy,” and wire trouble had been reported and investigated. Mr. Bay had warned the little girl in the house to stay away from the sink, that it was charged with electricity.
An official investigation into the source of the electricity will be made. The Public Service Commission has been asked to send a man here to investigate the cause of the accident, which by some is believed to be from a short circuit from a power line.
Mr. Bay was born in La Grande and was 30 years of age November 8. His father is one of the pioneers of this city. He has a wife and a nine year old daughter. He has three brothers, Harvey, Arlie and Clare. The latter is at Camp Merrill, New Jersey in the field artillery supply department and can not get here in time for the funeral. His father and mother, Mr. and Mrs. David Bay, reside in Portland. They arrived here this morning. Mrs. Cook of Kamela, and Mrs. Charles Goodnough of this city are aunts. Mrs. A. L. Mitchell, an intimate friend will arrive from Spokane tomorrow morning to attend the funeral. Many other more distant relatives live in this community
Mr. Bay has been in business 12 years with Nate Zweifel and the latter is prostrated with grief.
Speaking of his partner’s death, Mr. Zweifel said he could not feel worse if it were his own brother.
Dr. Richardson broke the news to Mrs. Bay who is bearing up as bravely as possible under the great shock. Owing to the ill health of Mr. Bay’s father great alarm is felt for him.
The funeral will be held Sunday afternoon at 2:00 o’clock at the Elks Temple under the auspices of the Elk’s lodge and the pall bearers will be from the Volunteer Fire Department. Rev. George H. Fees will officiate. The body will be at the Bohnenkamp chapel until the funeral.
La Grande Evening Observer,
Friday, 14 Dec 1917, Pages 1 & 8.