Arcola, NJ Hotel Fire, Jan 1910
HOTEL AFIRE, GIRL IN CELLAR.
Jersey Police Say She Gave No Good Reason for Being There.
Hackensack, N. J., detectives were working yesterday to find out who set fire to the hotel of James Corkrey, in Arcola, near Hackensack, Friday night.
At the hotel, on the night of the fire, they found footprints in the snow which seemed to indicate that a woman had entered the house a short while before. After tracing these footsteps they found a young woman hiding in the cellar of the house. As the hotel proprietor would make no charge against her they did not arrest her.
The girl, Clara Wilson, is 19 years of age, and says she lives on West 151st Street. She stayed at the hotel for about a month, but left there about two weeks ago. She told the detectives she had returned to the place to get some clothing she had left there.
Mrs. Corkrey was passing through the hall on the lower floor of the house near midnight of Friday, when she discovered the front door open. Before she could reach to close it a man rushed down the stairs, passed her, and ran through the open door to the street. He disappeared in the darkness. In the dim light Mrs. Corkrey noticed that the man seemed quite young and had a light mustache. She summoned the men in the house, and they tried to find the stranger, but without success. In the meantime Mrs. Corkrey had gone up stairs to see if everything there was all right and found one of the bedrooms on fire. This blaze was put out by a bucket brigade.
Then the footprints of the woman were noticed for the first time, leading to the rear door of the house, and a short while later the Wilson girl was found in the cellar. The detectives say she could give no good reason for being there.
Miss Wilson denies emphatically that the man who ran from the hotel is known to her. The detectives say that the girl was seen talking with a man near the bridge, which is not far from the hotel at Arcola. This the girl denies, saying she was not with any one when she left the Paterson car, and met not one until she reached the hotel.
The New York Times, New York, NY 30 Jan 1910