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Arverne New York Fire 1922 Boardwalk & Beach, Arverne, NY
View more photos of Arverne, NY View more photos of Arverne, NY

Arverne, New York Fire

June 15, 1922

New York, June 15.--Fire swept through the seashore bungalow colony at Arverne, between Rockaway and Far Rockaway tonight and destroyed between 600 and 700 buildings.  More than as core of colonists, overcome by smoke while fighting to save their effects, were rescued by firemen and policemen.

Fire Boats from New York. Fire boats, sent from New York, fought the fire from the bay.

Every structure in a five block area was destroyed.  Eighty residences valued from $15,000 to $25,000 each, seventy-five bungalows valued at $5,000 each and fifteen hotels and boarding houses, valued at $40,000 to $50,000 each, were destroyed. 

Seven engine companies, sent from New York, aided the volunteer fire fighting companies from Beach resorts.  After three hours the blaze was reported under control.

An entire section of small bungalows was dynamited in attempt to arrest the flames and several firemen were hurt in this operation.

Many women and men overcome by smoke, were rescued by firemen and police and taken to the hospitals.  Thirty firemen suffered burns and slight injuries.

The Bridgeport Telegram, Bridgeport, CT, 16 Jun 1922


ARVERNE, N.Y. June 16-- With 15,000 persons homeless and sixteen blocks of Arverne in smoking ruins, police today were searching for the cause of the conflagration which swept 100 buildings in this New York suburb last night, causing a total loss of $2,000,000.

The fire started in the Hotel Nautilis with a sound like an explosion.  It spread with starting rapidly, leaping from one block to another, and devouring hotel and handsome summer residences, a railway station and an orphanage, and many other buildings so quickly the occupants had barely time to escape.

Ruins were being combed today for possible victims.  An ambulance surgeon said he saw one man buried beneath a falling wall, while a blind man is declared by spectators to have been seen, hemmed in by flames, frantically dashing about in all directions, seeking escape.  He is believed to have perished.

Hundreds flee homes.  Scenes during the spread of flames from Jamaica Bay to the ocean across a half mile strip were reminiscent of an exodus of village of a war zone.  Hundreds of homeless and others who feared they would be trapped by the far flung advancing line of fire, clogged the roads leading from Arverne and Edgemore.

Dashing in the other direction came fire apparatus from all parts of Long Island, including Brooklyn, whirling through little seaside villages with showers of sparks and a roar that aroused inhabitants and sent many hurrying to watch the fire.

The resulting confusion turned roads in the Arverne section of Long Island into a null race of humanity and police reserves were called out.  many of the homeless were unfamiliar with the district, having come to Arverne for the summer and homes had to be found for these for the night.  ...

Many babies rescued from the Jewish orphanage, which was burned to the ground were carried miles to safety.  A bungalow colony on the bay was wiped out of existence.

"Smokey Joe" Martin, famous fire chief, fought the flames at one point single handed and was severely scorched by the terrific heat.  He refused to go to the rear, although his men pleaded with him.  When he and won out against the advancing wall of fire, "Smokey Joe" stumbled back...

Port Arthur Daily News, Port Arthur, TX, 16 Jun 1922

Other reports refer to the hotel where the fire started as the Hotel Nautilin.


One hundred and fifty children in Israel Orphan Asylum were marched from the building as flames licked its walls.  They were housed in a hotel outside the fire area.  The orphanage was destroyed.

A ravine lies in a narrow part of Rockaway Peninsula and stretching across Jamaica Bay to the sea.  The blaze, believed to have been started in Hotel Northless spread to the light wooden bungalows on the bay side and destroyed several boarding houses.

The Chillicothe Constitution, Chillicothe, MO 17 Jun 1922


The Israel Orphan asylum was destroyed, but the children were removed safely to Rockaway Park before the flames reached the building.  The Long Island railroad station and the coast guard station were also burned.

Oneonta Daily Star, Oneonta, NY, 16 Jun 1922


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