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New York, NY Coffee Warehouse Fire, Sept 1900


Fumes of Burning Coffee Hinder Firemen - Chemicals in the Blaze.

The coffee and chemical warehouse at 46 and 48 Water Street was completely gutted by fire early yesterday morning and it was only after four hours of hard work that the Fire Department subdued the flames. The loss is estimated at $10,000. The building was occupied by Streeve & Van Riper as a coffee storehouse, and by C. Rowell and Otto Struebel, dealers in chemicals, the two last named occupying the two lower floors of 46.

The fire started from some unknown cause in the rear of 48 on the third floor. It was discovered at 3:30 A. M. by the firemen of Engine No. 4, stationed in Old Slip, who were returning from a slight fire at 38 Liberty Street. Battalion Chief Krueger was in attendance almost immediately after the discovery of the fire and he a once turned in two alarms. A few moments later a third alarm was sent in. Chief Croker, who took charge, sent in a fourth and a fifth alarm, which brought out all the fire apparatus in the lower part of the city.

The fire was what the firemen call a "blind" one. The flames were scarcely visible, but the smoke was dense and arose in great clouds, covering the lower part of the city. The guests of the Great Eastern Hotel, at Whitehall and South Streets, were driven out by the smoke. The fireboats New Yorker and Havemeyer and Water Towers Nos. 1 and 2 aided in extinguishing the blaze. The searchlight engine was also on hand, and Fire Chaplain Johnson responded to the third alarm.

The smoke from the burning coffee was so pungent that only a few firemen were permitted at a time in the building. Those who entered were able to remain inside only a few minutes, when they became exhausted and were relieved by others.

Chief Croker, in view of the explosive nature of the chimicals in 46, would not permit his men to enter that part of the building.

Considerable damage was done by water to a number of spice firms in the rear of the burned building. These firms were Trout, Stretch & Co., 80 Pearl Street; Berth, Levi & Co., 80 1/2, and Jastrow Alexander, at 82 Pearl Street.

The New York Times, New York, NY 16 Sept 1900

article | by Dr. Radut