Chicago, IL Tenement House Fire, June 1886



Chicago, June 8. -- Eight persons were smothered and burned to death in the frame houses at 731 and 733 South Canal Street, at 4 o'clock yesterday morning.
The names of the dead are:
MICHAEL MURPHY, aged 40 years, employed by the South Division Railway company.
MRS. MICHAEL MURPHY, aged 35 years.
ANNIE MURPHY, 9 years old.
NELLIE MURPHY, 11 years old.
MRS. MARY DURKIN, aged 30 years.
PATSY LAVIN, aged 4 years, a son of MRS. MARY DURKIN by a former marriage.
JOHN DURKIN, 3 weeks old.
WM. HAND, aged 68 years, a butcher.
The fire broke out in the cellar of 733 Canal Street.
Both houses were filled with smoke before any of the occupants were aroused. Many of the sleepers were doubtless smothered in their beds.
The flames burned the bodies until they were unrecognizable masses. The lower floor of 733 was occupied by John Raleigh, Jr., His wife was awakened by a sense of suffocation. She aroused her husband, who hastily donned a few articles of clothing. He threw up a window. The raging flames scorched his face, singing his hair and moustache. He caught his wife in his arms, and with a terrible effort threw her bodily through the flames out of the window. Her night dress caught on fire. With great presence of mind she extinguished the flames with her hands, and lent assistance to her husband in saving the lives of their two small children. The lower floor of No. 731 was occupied by a man named McGuire, who kept a grocery store. All his family were saved. It is believed that the fire was the work of an incendiary. It was first seen by a watchman in a brewery near by. He started over to alarm the occupants. When in the rear of the burning houses he met a man, who said: "There's a fire; you better turn in an alarm." The man disappeared up the alley. The watchman colud not identify him if he should see him again. This is the third time that place has been set on fire.

The News Frederick Maryland 1886-06-08