Newark, NJ Fire, Nov 1910
The number of dead is now twenty-four, for firemen found beneath a pile of debris yesterday the bones of another victim. The body may be that of an aged widow named REYNOLDS, who lived alone, and is believed to have been at work on the fourth floor at the time of the fire. She has not been seen since the fire, and inquiries along Central Avenue, where she was known, have failed to disclose any trace of her.
From the records of the Newark Fire Exchange it was revealed that the dangerous condition of the building was widely known. It was carried on the exchange's list as an especially hazardous fire risk. The dangerous features of the old structure, which is known to be old by the fact that the original model of the ironclad Monitor was designed in it, were listed as the open elevator shaft, non-standard floors, large area of rooms, and the height. The insurance rates on the building ranged from 100 to nearly 150 per cent in excess of the standard rates for the same class of building.
While the firemen were searching in the ruins for his body, Roy Davidson, 18 years old, of 17 Breintnall Place, turned up a the scene of the fire yesterday and told Roundsman James Fitch, who was in charge of the squad of police guarding the ruins, that he was overcome with horror at the sight he witnessed and ran home.
One of the most beautiful witnesses to appear before the Coroner will be Deputy Factory Inspector William Schlachter, in whose district the factory building was situated. Speaking of the disaster he said:
"I can't understand it," said Schlachter yesterday. "It doesn't seem possible under conditions as I found them at the time of my last visit to the factory that under any circumstances would there have been any trouble in getting out of the place.
Several funerals of the fire victims were held yesterday morning and afternoon. The three GOTTLIEB sisters, DORA, MINNIE, and TILLIE, daughters of Morris Gottlieb of 74 South Sixteenth Street, East Orange, were buried together. A simple Jewish religious service was conducted by the undertaker, while the aged father, the surviving four sisters, and one brother, stood in the mournful group.
Following an examination made in Trenton yesterday of factory department records relative to the fire, Gen. Lewis T. Bryant, State Labor Commissioner, and several Newark Inspectors asserted that the fire protection was adequate, so far as the State law was concerned, and if it could be proved that additional protection might have saved life there, the fault would be with the law itself rather than with the administration of it.
Last Rites' Administered.
As fast as the women came down those who showed any life were hurried away to a little wooden house at one side of the factory. The dead were left lying mangled and torn in a ghastly line along the sidewalk. To the dying the rites of the Roman Catholic Church were administered by the Rev. John A. Dillion, Dioceasen Superintendent of Parochial Schools; the Rev. John H. Keirnan, and the Rev. William P. Brennan, curate of the cathedral.
Even as the work of rescue was going on, as the firemen were rigging their ladders and running out their lines of hose, and as the women came pouring out of the burning factory they stood amid the flames and the smoke, fifteen feet apart, and solemnly and calmly administered absolution to the dying who lay before them.
On the fourth floor when the alarm was given were employed Sophie Diehn of 130 Norfolk Street, Newark, and her two sisters. Before saying herself she rushed about to see if she could find them. The smoke was too thick, and in despair the had to make her own way to a window. There she sprang to escape with a sprained ankle. Both her sisters also escaped.
Catherine Diehn sprang directly to the ground from the fourth floor, and though her injuries are serious it is hoped she will recover. The third, Sarah, was one of the few who managed to climb down the fire escape of the fourth floor. She was helped part of the way by a fireman, but was not quite sure how she actually reached the street.
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