Springfield, MA Hotel Fire, Dec 1931

DEATH LIST OF 5 IN FIRE MAY INCREASE.

SPRINGFIELD HOTEL RUINS SEARCHED FOR BODIES OF ADDED VICTIMS.

31 OF 48 MAKE ESCAPE.

JANITOR MET DEATH PRAYING AS WIFE CLUTCHED BABY TO BREAST.

Springfield, Mass., Dec. 26 (UP) -- Firemen searched the smouldering ruins of the New Court Hotel tonight for the bodies of additional victims in the fire that destroyed the five-story building early today with a known death toll of five.
Forty-eight persons were in their rooms when the fire was discovered. Five bodies were found, 31 were known to have escaped, and 12 are missing. Police were certain that other bodies would be recovered later.
Today's fire was the fourth to have swept the building since 1906.
One entire family, a father, a mother, and their two-weeks old baby, was wiped out. Police found the body of MRS. SAMUEL KNIGHT in their thrid floor apartment. She still clutched the dead infant to her breast. The body of her husband was bent over a bed in an attitude of prayer.
ERNEST McCARTHY, who discovered the fire, had time to warn only a few of the occupants before the mounting flames drove him to the street. Firemen arrived to find all the five floors a mass of flames, with terrified roomers hanging from the upper windows, screaming for aid. Ladders were hastily mounted and a dozen rescued.
A few minutes later the roof and fifth floor collapsed. Six firemen on the four floor narrowly escaped.
After a furious three-hour fight, the fire was brought under control, but not until noon were the flames extinguished.
KNIGHT was janitor for the building. MRS. KNIGHT returned only Thursday from the hospital where she had given birth to her baby.
Among the 12 missing were a young man and woman who had been assigned a room only two hours before the fire was discovered.
Several narrow escapes and thrilling rescues were reported. DONALD DRISCOLL was rescued naked. His pajamas were burned off before firemen reached him. CARL LINDBERGH lost his artificial leg and was hobbling about on one crutch when he was rescued.

Syracuse Herald New York 1931-12-27

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