Danbury, CT Perry Block Fire, May 1888


DANBURY, Conn., May 29.---One of the largest and most disastrous fires known here for many years occurred early this morning, when Henry Perry's Block, consisting of several four-story brick dwellings and stores, and the Griffin Block of six three-story and basement frame buildings, owned by Dr. M. Griffin, on Elm-street, were totally destroyed. A number of stables, sheds, shops, and outbuildings were also destroyed. In all there were 10 dwellings burned, besides upward of 18 shops and other buildings. The fire left 15 or more families temporarily homeless, destroying their household furniture and effects, valued at $15,000.

Several families living in the upper part of the burned houses barely escaped with their lives. Mrs. Mary Sherwood and daughter had a terrible and thrilling experience and a marvelous escape from instant death. The ladies were occupants of the top floor of one of the houses and were awakened by the fire, but not until all means of escape by the stairs were cut off. They climbed out of the window and hung by their hands to the sill until they could hold on no longer, when they dropped. It is feared that one if not both will die from their injuries. During the fire an explosion of gas took place in front of a store, seriously injuring two men. The family of James Smith had just moved into one of the dwellings. They lost all they had and are penniless. The loss is $31,000, on which there is an insurance of only $12.350.

The New York Times, New York, NY 30 May 1888