New Haven, CT Hotel Tontine Fire, Oct 1897


Frederick Cook, Arrested in Boston, Confesses to Having Started the Hotel Tontine Fires.

BOSTON, Dec. 28.---Frederick Cook was arrested here to-day charged with having set fire on two occasions to the Hotel Tontine, at New Haven. The last time was on Christmas morning. Cook admitted having set the fire when under cross-examination at Police Headquarters. He claims that five years ago Manager White of the hotel did him wrong, and out of revenge he ignited the fires. What the injury was Cook declined to say, but said he thought he was justified in setting fire to his place on that account. He added:

"I am satisfied now to stand the punishment for the offense."

Cook had a .32-calibre loaded revolver in his possession. He was arrested by a New Haven officer and Inspector Tryder of this city, who supposed that he was going to ship on board an outgoing cattle steamer.

On both occasions when the fires were set the man arrived at the Hotel Tontine the night before, and each time registered as R. Lacke. About 1 o'clock on the morning of Oct 9 fire was discovered in an unoccupied room on the fourth floor. The fire was extinguished with a loss of only about $300.

Last Friday night Cook, it is alleged, arrived at the hotel and again registered under the name of R. Lacke. At 5 A. M. on Christmas day fire was discovered in a room adjoining the one in which the other fire was started. A porter saw Cook leave the room. There had been placed in the room two gallon cans of benzine, in which had been placed lighted candles. The loss was about $200.

Cook, or Lacke, was traced to Hudson and thence to Boston. He says that after setting the fire on Christmas morning he walked from New Haven to Wallingford, Conn., thence to Holyoke and Northampton.

The New York Times, New York, NY 27 Dec 1897