Captain Baker of South Molton Fire Brigade had questions for Nurse Rowe about the locked doors to which she replied
"There were two doors locked - the door to the men's Sick Ward which led from her room and the door at the top of the stairs. The same key unlocked both doors. These were spring locks which shut of themselves but opened only with a key.
The next person called was Susan Turner, an inmate of the Workhouse who also was employed as a kitchen woman. She stated that she rang the rising bell at quarter to seven and afterwards unlocked the doors downstairs. She heard Mary Tolley knock at the door at the bottom of the Sick Ward stairs. The door had been unlocked but she had bolted it again. When she opened the door and ran upstairs, she saw the Nurse's room was all ablaze and the Nurse's clothes were on fire. She ran out and shouted for help and the Master came immediately. She had slept in the Sick Ward that night.
Next to testify was the Master, John Bines, who said
"The deceased, Mary Fuke, was an infirm inmate of the Union who was 77 years of age. She was able to get about without assistance*. About a quarter after seven on Saturday morning Susan Turner came running to my bedroom crying "Fire! Fire!" I asked where and she answered "The Sick Ward", I was dressed all but my shoes but I came out without waiting to put them on. I then saw that the fire was in the Nurse's room. I could see through the door opening, there was no way of putting the fire out and said to the Nurse "Do all you can to get these people out". I ran back to my room and gave the alarm to the porter and the gardener. The porter came at once and I sent him off for the town to get help and the fire engine. I ran down and unlocked the kitchen door leading to the able-bodied men's room and the yard. I sent them to the women's Sick Ward to assist in getting out the sick. I then went to the bottom of the men's Sick Ward Stairs at the north end of the building, where I found John Wise and James Brailey, two of the inmates, engaged in getting out the sick men. There were eight of them and they were all got out safely.
*Dementia - the most likely explanation of Mary Fluke's behavious, at all was not recognised at this time.
Seeing that the men would be all right, I returned to the Women's Sick ward and helped out one of the inmates. We took the sick patients into the Boy's Ward, which was the nearest available room. Charity Williams was injured by a blow on the forehead, caused as she was taken out. She was not burnt but was suffering from shock and suffocation. I believe one of the policemen got her out. I saw that the women were properly cared for and I then went up to the Infirm Ward which I found locked. PC Wotton was smashing it open with a hatchet and rescued Elizabeth Holland who had recently been confined, as well as her child. he also rescued Ann Blake and Mary Hosegood. I asked Ann Blake where Mary Fuke was and she replied she was gone back into the Infirm bedroom and would not come out with the others. I could not get to her on account of the flames and ran round to the other door to try to rescue her that way but I found the flames and smoke coming through so fiercely that I then saw there was no means of saving Mary Fuke's life. Someone tried to get through the window by means of a ladder but they could not do so. This was within ten minutes of my first hearing of the fire. I used every endeavour to rescue her but did not see or hear anything of her during the whole time,