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New York, NY Knickerbocker Hotel Fire, May 1909

$50,000 Knickerbocker Fire.

Short Circuit Destroys Hotel's Winter Tapestries in a Storage Room.

A blaze caused by a short circuit in the electric light wires in one of the smaller storerooms on the second floor of the Hotel Knickerbocker yesterday destroyed practically all of the most valuable Winter tapestries and drapings in the hotel. The total damage at about $50,000.

No alarm was sent in, all the work of extinguishing the blaze being done by the hotel fire brigade. In fighting the fire with automatic extinguishers and hose, Peter GEYER, an assistant manager, and Joseph STARR were cut on the head by falling glass, and Arnold BURGER was overcome by smoke.

Although there were thirty men fighting the fire - some from a courtyard outside and some from the hall - none of the guests occupying rooms near by had any knowledge of what was going on. A banquet of seventy was being held in a private dining room a short distance away, and people were passing in and out of the elevator only a few steps from the hall.

The property destroyed for the most part, was silk and embroidered tapestries which had been taken from the parlors and dining rooms to be stored for the Summer.

The fire was discovered about 3 o'clock and was out twenty minutes later.

The New York Times, New York, NY 29 May 1909

article | by Dr. Radut