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New York, NY Sidewalk Platform Collapse, Jul 1911


New York, July 10.---Oswald PASQUALE, five years old and his cousin, Rosa COLOMAN, nine, were playing in front of his home, when they heard a thundering noise. In a second more they were buried beneath tons of wood. A platform over the sidewalk where two flathouses were being demolished had collapsed.

The girl, unconscious, was dragged from under the wreckage and hurried to Flower Hospital. She had internal injuries and it was said she would die.

One of OSWALD'S legs were broken and he probably was injured internally. He too is in the Flower Hospital and hope for his recovery is not strong.

The workmen had quit for the day before the collapse had occurred. Two weeks ago the platform was built to protect passers-by. Saturday the work of tearing away the front walls of the houses was finished. That meant that the back support of the platform was gone. This caused the collapse.

Meyer REISS was walking under the platform when he heard the crunching sound of breaking timbers, and someone yelled to him to run. REISS saved his life by leaping to the stoop of one of the demolished houses, the only part that remained. As the structure fell toward the street he was unhurt.

Harry DOYLE, nine years old, was bruised by falling boards.

Hundreds of persons rushed to the spot on hearing the noise. They soon were busy in the work of rescue. The body of the girl was reached first. Beams had fallen across her. She still clutched a piece of chalk she had used in marking the pavement in a game of hopscotch.

It took only a few minutes more to reach the boy. He, too, was unconscious. OSWALD'S father and mother, frantic with grief seized the body from the diggers and started to run with it to their home. They were held back and the two children were placed in the ambulance.

When the wreckage struck the street a cloud of fine dust sailed into the air. It looked like smoke and someone cried, "Fire!" A boy ran to a nearby box and turned in the alarm.

William REISS was crossing Third avenue when Engine Eight galloped by. He tried to cross in front and was knocked down. Though badly shaken up he refused medical attention and went home. There was nothing for the firemen to do when they reached the place of collapse.

The Evening News, San Jose, CA 10 Jul 1911

article | by Dr. Radut