Lakewood, NJ Victoria Mansion Hotel Fire, Feb 1936
15 FEARED DEAD IN HOTEL FIRE.
DEATH LIST IN LAKEWOOD BLAZE INCREASES; SOME CRITICALLY BURNED.
Lakewood, N. J., Feb. 13 -- (UP) -- Police believed today that 15 persons died in the fire that razed the 200-room Victoria Mansion Hotel yesterday. Eight were known dead and seven were missing.
Several others, critically burned or injured by leaps from windows may die.
Coroner Raymond A. Tylor conducted an informal inquest while police and firemen dug into ice-bound wreckage of the hotel. He established tentative identification of seven bodies, some of them so burned that it was not easy to tell whether they were adults or children.
Four of the dead were children under 7 years old, one an infant. Five of the bodies were dug from the ruins after nightfall by volunteers working under floodlights. Extreme cold and the inadequate illumination forced suspension of the work before midnight. Police Chief Walter A. Curtis said he thought seven more bodies would be found today.
The dead, as the coroner identified them, were:
RUMYA FELDMAN, 4 years old.
ROBERT ELLER, 4 years old.
FLORENCE ELLER, 14 months old.
CHARLES ABRAMOWITZ, 6 years old.
HARRY EHRLICH, 29.
MRS. RUTH SHERMAN, 28.
MILDRED FISCHER, 22.
All lived in New York City.
The hotel's register was destroyed, making it impossible to say positively how many were missing, but authorities believed that a list of guests furnished by hotel employes from memory was complete. Walls and roof of the old building collapsed. The wreckage burned for hours, and police feared that it might be impossible ever to identify bodies still in the ruins.
Among the missing was the mother of FLORENCE and ROBERT ELLER, MRS. IRENE ELLER, 25. Others were MRS. CAROLINE SOMMER, 60; MRS. JERRY ABRAMOWITZ, mother of CHARLES; MRS. ARMAND MARKO and her mother, MRS. HALPERIN, and BENNY KELLMAN, 20, son of LOUIS KELLMAN, a proprietor of the hotel.
Witnesses at the coroner's preliminary inquiry said that probably one-third of the hotel's guests, trapped asleep in their room, jumped from windows. Several of the dead were killed by falls and many others were injured or suffered severely from exposure to nearly zero temperatures in night dress.
Several among the injured were accorded slight chance to live. Most critically hurt was MISS EVELYN FAIN, 18, whose back was broken. MISS FAIN had climbed to a window sill of her second floor room, intending to hang by her hands and drop, when MRS. MINNIE MALVIN dropped on her from the floor above.
Authorities have been unable to learn the fire's cause.
Chester Times Pennsylvania 1936-02-13