New York City, NY Dancing Hall Fire, Jan 1880



New York, January 5.
Fire broke out this morning in the basement of Turner Hall, on East Fourth street, occupied by WILLIAM WINKLE as a ball room, and when the flames were extinguished, WILLIAM GEIB, aged 10 years; LOUIS SCHMIDT, 30; HENRY GEHWEITER, 25, and TERESA ERHARD, 25, were found on the top floor, dead. WINKLE and his wife were badly burned, and were sent to the hospital. ANNIE BAUER received internal injuries by jumping from the fourth-story window, and was badly burned about the hands and face. An unknown woman had both legs broken by jumping from the top floor. The damage to the building and stock is $12,000.
The progress of the fire was so great, it was hardly five minutes after the first engine company arrived before the entire inside of the premises seemed to be alive with flame, the tongues of which ran up the wood work with a speed which put to naught the first efforts of the firemen. The premises Nos. 66 amd 68 were occupied by Turn Hall proper, and in the upper stories of 64, WILLIAM WINKLE, proprietor, resided with his family and several employes. As soon as the firemen could reach the roof they cut holes in it and broke the skylight, but the fire had already done its fearful work on several victims, surrounded as they were by flames and cut off from all access to safety below by the burning staircase. Several persons sustained severe injuries by leaping from the highest stories on the building. One man, while crying frantically for aid to the firemen beneath was all the while pushing a woman, who seemed to be resisting, from the fourth story window. She finally leaped and struck the ground on her feet with a sickening crash, breaking both legs and arms, and almost crushing her to death. Of twelve or fifteen persons sleeping in No. 64, four were burned to death and five injured. The little boy was burned to a crisp. Others were either dead when taken from the burning building, or died before they reached the station house.
The actual cause of the fire is unknown. Examination showed a mass of debris in and around where the winding stairway emerged from the basement into the lower hall, and a look aloft showed that the flames had every possible advantage, and must have shot up from the burning basement staircase. All persons known to have been in the burning building are accounted for. Crowds of people, mostly of German extraction, were around the burned building the entire forenoon.

Logansport Journal Indiana 1880-01-06