Boston, MA Fire At Parker House Hotel, Mar 1954
$4500 FIRE AT BOSTON'S PARKER HOUSE.
MAN ESCAPING FLAMES THOUGHT TRYING SUICIDE.
Boston, March 4 (AP) -- Three guests were assisted down ladders and some 500 others were evacuated down three elevators and a staircase as fire broke out on the fifth floor of the famed 14-story Parker house early today.
JOSEPH C. FITZGERALD, 47, of Coral Gables, Fla., one of three men brought down ladders, suffered smoke inhalation and was treted at Boston City hospital.
There were no other casualties.
KENNETH A. HARTLEY, 39, of Baltimore, Md., and GORDON SHILLINGLAW, 27, of Yonkers, N. Y., were the other two guests helped down ladders.
HARTLEY, a metallurgist with Bethlehem Steel, said he was awakened by the screams of the next-door occupant and discovered heavy smoke seeping into his room.
He said he soaked a sheet in the bathtub and threw it over his head before climbing to the fifth-story ledge outside his window.
A passerby spotted him and telephoned police that "a man is going to commit suicide." A police cruiser arrived at the scene just before firefighters.
When HARTLEY was brought down a ladder -- suitcase in hand -- police took him into temporary custody and questioned him for trying to commit suicide. "Apparently the police didn't know about the fire until I told them," HARTLEY said.
Most of the guests -- dressed in overcoats thrown over night clothes -- took refuge in the hotel lobby.
The blaze was confined to the fifth floor of the hostelry in the heart of downtown Boston.
Deputy Fire Chief EDWARD GAUGHAN estimated damage at $4500 and called in the departments' arson squad to try to determine its cause.
The blaze was discovered by night watchman FRANK CURLEY, 55, who called the hotel desk and helped awaken guests.
Lowell Sun Massachusetts 1954-03-04