Albany, NY Telephone Exchange Fire, Apr 1891


Fierce Combat with Fire.

Albany, N. Y. , April 6--A fire broke out fiercely in the telephone exchange today, which is located in the fifth story of the block between Nos. 467 and 472 Broadway.

The flames broke through the roof and front of the building. The wholesale fur stores of Cottrell & Leonard and Holland Uerrill, as well as that of Van Honsen, Charles & Co., were damaged with water and will suffer considerable loss.

It is thought that the fire was started by a trolly wire coming in contact with a telephone line. The loss will be about $100,000.

Bangor Daily Whig and Courier. Bangor, ME 7 Apr 1891



The Telephone Exchange and Several Stores Completely Destroyed.

ALBANY, April 7.--For the fourth time in the history of two months the telephone service in this city is entirely destroyed--this time by fire. At 12:55 o’clock yesterday afternoon Lineman Houck noticed a streak of fire come in on the wire leading from the alley. He immediately suspected that the wire had crossed the railway trolley and he quickly cut it. Outside where the wire enters the operating room he noticed it on fire again. This he also extinguished, but within two minutes the whole cupola, which he could not reach, was in a blaze. Giving the alarm to the operators he ran down stairs and to the nearest fire alarm box. He found that it was not in working order and went to another. By the time the fire department arrived the whole cupola was in a blaze, and as the wires heated and broke they would drop by the score upon the railway trolley wire, where they would become hissing, white lines. Fortunately no one was injured by them.

The crowd which gathered were driven back, but the firemen could not work until the railway company shut off their current. By hard work the fire was confined to the operating rooms and the cupola on the fifth and sixth floors. The entire service of the company is a wreck and it will be weeks before any communication will be established.

The loss to the company is about $30,000, almost fully insured as to immediate loss, but not loss of service. Van Heusen, Charles & Co., dealers in crockery, lose about $2,000 in damaged stock. Correll & Leonard, the large furriers, lose quite heavily by water, the floors occupied by them being flooded. About $10,000 will cover their loss; fully insured. Terrill’s harness establishment loses several thousand dollars by water. One thousand and four hundred wires are destroyed and Manager Uhne says that unless some thing is done to protect their wires from the trolleys they may conclude not to fix them up again.

The losses will foot up about $100,000, most of which is covered by insurance.

The Olean Democrat, Olean, NY 9 Apr 1891