Ansonia, CT Hotel Fire, Apr 1883

Ansonia CONN Main Street Circa 1905.jpg



New Haven, April 10. -- At an early hour this morning the west end of the Ansonia Hotel, Ansonia, Conn., was found to be on fire. The building was of wood and five stories high. W. H. DAYTON, the proprietor, was in the office at the time, and rushing from room to room he aroused the guests from their sleep. Most of them ran into the street in their night clothes. A servant girl named KATE GRADY, who slept in the fifth story, thinking that everything was on fire beneath her, sprang out of a window on the south side, landing on top of a man named CHARLES CONATY. One of her legs was broken in two places, and she received other injuries which may prove fatal. Other inmates escaped by the firemen's ladders. The fire was soon under control, and the damage to the building will not exceed $8,000. The insurance on the building is $13,000, divided as follows: In the Equitable of Providence, Washington Fire, Rochester, German, and North German, Hamburg, $2,000 each; in the Providence of Washington and Commercial of New York, $1,500 each; in the Standard of New York and People's of Middletown, $1,000 each. The loss on furniture is about $1,000, and is covered by insurance.
The fire originated in a shed adjoining the west end of the hotel. It is evident to the authorities that it was of incendiary origin, and circumstances indicate that the building was fired in the interest of plunder. The "Maid of Arran" troupe, 13 in number, played to a sixty-dollar audience in the Ansonia Opera house last evening, and, it is understood, were much disappointed with the receipts. After the performance they went to the hotel and sought their apartments. One of their number, JOHN WILLIAMS, and wife occupied a room directly over the shed where the flames were first seen. The roof of the shed could have been reached from the bedroom window. After the flames had been extinguished several of the guests found that they had been robbed of valuables. A. C. LANGDON and wife lost jewelry and money to the amount of $800. MRS. DAYTON, wife of the hotel proprietor, found that from her room had been taken a gold watch and chain, besides sleeve buttons, bracelets, and other jewelry. Suspicious actions on the part of WILLIAMS had been observed during the fire, and he was arrested by Chief of Police CAREY. At first the actor denied all knowledge of the theft and loudly protested against the arrest. The officers finally, out of pity for his wife, who pleaded strongly for him, consented to release him if he would return the jewelry. This he did, and he was permitted to go.

The New York Times New York 1883-04-11