Newark, NJ Celluloid Explosion, Jan 1880



A Fire in New York Burns Four People to Death--A Celluloid Explosion in Newark, N. J., Kills Three Men and Injures Two Others.

NEW YORK, Jan. 5.---A fire broke this morning in the basement of the building on East 4th street known as Turner hall and occupied by William Winkle as a ball room. The building is owned by the Turner society and is damaged $7,000. The stock was damaged $5,000. After the fire discovery that WILLIAM GIEB, 10 years; LOUIS SCHMIDT, 30 years; HENRY GIHWFLER, 25 years, and TERESA EHERD, 25 years, were found on the top floor all dead. Winkle and wife were badly burned and sent to the hospital. Annie Rauer received internal injuries by jumping from the fourth story window and was badly burned. An unknown women had both legs broken by jumping from the top floor. Margaret Geib was also badly burned.

The fatalities were caused by the fact that the fire began in the basement and burned away the stairs. It was known that William Winkle, the proprietor, with his wife and employes{sic} slept in the building, and before the heavy doors could be broken open, several of them appeared at the upper windows imploring help. Even after the doors yielded the unfortunate inmates could not be reached as the flames swept up the stairway. The firemen went to the roof of an adjoining house hoping to release the imperiled people by means of a scuttle, but there was no scuttle to the building in which they were confined. A hole had to be cut through the roof and by this means only they were reached. By this time four persons were burned or suffocated to death.

The Insurance on Turner hall is $80,000, and is mostly insured here. The Ætna, of Hartford, has $5,000. The building is very large, including the great Turner hall and a large schoolroom, which were badly damaged by water, and there are rooms of 40 lodges and 12 singing societies.

Second Dispatch.

NEW YORK, Jan. 5.---The detailed account of the fire this morning states that when the firemen reached the roof and cut through in the rooms on the east side where had slept George Muller, Ernest and Herman Ruhl, Louis Meyer, Henry Gebweller and Louis Schmidt, waiters; in the west side bedrooms Teresa Erhardt, Annie Bauer and Rose, servant girls. Their floor was a vast sea of flames that lit up with its awful glare the impenetrable smoke in which the scared men and women ran wildly about, gasping for air and shouting in a useless effort to call help from without, where the work of the firemen was now heard. George Muller, Ernst and Herman Ruhl made their way toward the front, and reached the roof more than half suffocated and burned. Louis Meyer sprang from a window into the yard below, sixty-feet or more, and was picked up half killed.

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