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Laurel Hill, NY Chemical Factory Fire, Jan 1903



The Laurel Hill branch of the Nichols Chemical Company's works was destroyed by fire last night. The loss is said to be close to half a million dollars.
The fire started on the third floor from a cause which could not be learned last night. The building was a three-story brick structure covering several acres with its outbuildings. The works ran night and day and about 1,000 men were at work when the fire started. The flames spread rapidly and the first alarm sent in brought only the volunteer fireman, but there was a second alarm which brought the Long Island City engines and those from Brooklyn nearest to Penny Bridge. These alarms were followed by two more, which moved many more engines either to the scene or to take stations. Three fireboats also responded running up through Newtown Creek.
The building fronted on Prospect Street and backed on to the Long Island Railroad. There were many other large establishments close by , and these had to be safe-guarded. The many kinds of acids in the works occasioned much trouble, generating a dense smoke and sending flames shooting high into the air.
It appears that the men at work at first made an effort to fight the flames, but were finally forced out of the building. They are all said to have got out in safety.

New York Times New York 1903-01-17

article | by Dr. Radut