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Myers Department Store Collapse

Myers Department Store Collapse

Click to enlarge, View more photos View more photos of Albany, NY


John G. Myers Department Store

Building Collapse

Albany, New York

August 8, 1905

Albany, Aug. 9. - -Thirteen are known to be dead, twenty-seven injured and in the hospitals, and more than forty are missing, as a result of the collapse of the John G. Myers department store North Pearl street, yesterday.

All night long scores of men worked like beavers upon the ruins and the number will be reinforced today.  That a score or more bodies still remain beneath the wreckage seems a certainty.

The list of dead this morning was as follows: 

Miss Minnie K. Bullman, 168 Livingston Avenue

Miss Anna Cashman, 62 Walter street

Michael J. Fitzgerald, 542 North Pearl street

Frank P. Leonard, 101 Myrtle avenue

Miss Mary McAvoy, 162 Orange street

John F. Powers, cash boy, 29 Bassett street

Miss Alice L. Sharp, 57 Elisabeth street

Miss Theresa Spannbauer, 243 Sherman street

Miss Etta L. Sprinks, 163 Lancaster street, saleswoman

Anna Whitbeck, 55 Irving street

Miss Grace B. Ebner, 96 Lexington avenue

Miss Helen Malone, 127 Green street

Winifred Kelly, 214 Hamilton street

The injured in various hospitals are reported as doing well. One death has occurred in the hospitals among the victims taken from the building alive.  Miss Mary McAvoy, who was taken from the wreck at 3:15 yesterday afternoon died at St. Peters Hospital at 12:20 o'clock this morning.

LIST OF THE INJURED.  The injured at the hospitals are:

St. Peters Hospital --

Miss Ella Donohue, fractured spine; may live;

Mrs. Wilson Borst, shopper, bruised and injured internally, condition serious;

Alice Burns, badly bruised;

Dudley Weaver, cut on the head;

Mrs. Stafford, badly bruised and cut;

Lewis H. Mergenthaler, Rensselaer, eye injured; limbs bruised, sprained ankle;

Miss Lillian Spatz, head cut and arms bruised;

Miss Lena Denzinger, badly bruised;

Miss Albina Cloutier, head badly cut and bruised;

Mrs. Richard W. Brass, head cut and bruised;

John Fisher, bruised and cut on the head;

Harry Morris, bruised and cut.


At Albany Hospital --

Hector Fleming, numerous bruises;

Miss Mary Benson, cut and suffering from shock;

Miss Nellie Burns, bruised;

Robert M. Chalmers, bruised, cut and suffering from shock;

Charles Dottman, bruises;

George Diller


At Homeopathic Hospital - -

Henry Snyder, stunned;

J. Griffin, hand cut;

Howard Smith, head and hand cut;

Samuel Frazier, hands cut and face cut;

William Devlin

The property loss is estimated at a quarter of a million dollars.  The fact that fire did not break out has made it possible to save considerable of the stock.  That the accident occurred at an early hour was also fortunate, for had it occurred an hour or two later the store would have been thronged with buyers and in that case the loss of life would have been much greater.

The only disaster in this city at all comparable with the present one in the memory of those now living, was  in the Delevan House fire which occurred December 30, 1894.  In this calamity nineteen persons were burned to death.

CAUSE OF DISASTER.  The cause of the disaster seems to have been the giving away of a brick pier on which rested an iron column supporting one of the centre walls of the building, the collapse being due to an excavation made beneath a pier for a foundation for which new work forming part of extensive improvements was to rest.  When the pier and column gave way the wall fell, and with it the floors and roof of the whole central portion of the building back of the elevator.

The heroism in the work of rescue and prompt aid to the injured was noteworthy.  Physicians by the score, clergymen, priests, nurses from the hospitals, firemen, policemen and citizens, with contractors, workmen and their laborers were early on the scene and vied with each other in work, in utter disregard of the danger which threatened.  The women clerks could not remove the beams and girders, but they did minister  tenderly to heir injured co-workers, and readily transformed themselves into impromptu nurses.

Crews from the railroads reinforced the workers in clearing away the rubbish in order to reach the bodies.  All night long they toiled occasionally bringing to light the body of a victim.

Trenton Times, Trenton, NJ 9 Aug 1905


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