New York City, NY Bowery Lodging House Fire, Mar 1898
ELEVEN DIE BY FIRE.
BOWERY LODGING HOUSE IN NEW YORK BURNED AT NIGHT.
SCORES NARROWLY ESCAPE.
THE PLACE WAS CONDUCTED BY THE CHRISTIAN HERALD.
WILD SCENES OF EXCITEMENT WHEN THE FIRE WAS DISCOVERED -- SEVERAL BOLTED WITHOUT A STITCH OF CLOTHING -- SIX VICTIMS UNIDENTIFIED.
New York, March 13. -- A thorough search of the premises at 105 Bowery, which were partially destroyed by fire at an early hour this morning, disclosed the fact that eleven persons were burned to death. At first it was rumored that the loss of life was much greater, but after searching the ruins very carefully the police and firemen discovered eleven charred bodies and removed them to the morgue.
Number 105 Bowery is one of the best known lodging houses on that thoroughfare. It is called the Bowery Mission lodging house and is conducted by the Christian Herald. In the basement of the building there is a cheap restaurant, while the ground floor is used exclusively for mission purposes, gospel services having been held there daily for several years. The four upper floors were fitted up as a cheap lodging house, with accommodations for 150 males, who paid 15, 20 or 25 cents each, according to the location of the rooms. Last night almost every bed was occupied.
At 1:30 o'clock this morning one of the lodgers discovered flames coming from a washroom on the third floor, but before he had time to alarm the house the fire was noticed by passers-by on the street. By this time the flames had eaten their way to the top of the building and were bursting through the roof. When the alarm was given and the inmates aroused, wild scenes of excitement ensued. Many of the lodgers became panic stricken. They rushed into the hallways and fell over each other in their efforts to reach the streets. Those on the lower floors got to the street safely by the stairways, while those on the upper floors groped their way through the building, some to the fire escape in front of the building. The majority of them only saved portions of their clothing, while several of them were naked.
Those who made their way to the street by the fire escapes were superficially burned by the excessive heat of the iron ladders, which in many places had become red hot from the flames within.
In the meantime, three alarms of fire had been sent in, and in a few minutes the firemen were busy deluging the building with torrents of water. They finally succeeded in keeping the fire within the limits of the three upper stories. A large detail of police were quickly summoned to the scene, in charge of Inspector Cross, and the reserves were called from the downtown precincts.
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