Albany, NY Delavan House Hotel Fire, Dec 1894

Delavan House Union Station, Albany, NY - built on the site of the Delavan House


Fears That Employes May Have Been Burned to Death.


Extent of the Loss of Life is Yet Unknown.

Albany, N.Y., Dec 31.--Later developments in the Delavan House fire shows that at least six servants are still unaccounted for. They are Mary and Bridget Sullivan, chambermaids, who are sisters; Bridget Fitzgibbon, pantry girl; two colored cooks whose names have not yet been ascertained, and a man named Ferando, employed in the stewards department. The pay roll has not yet been fully verified, and it may be that several persons perished. John Norman, one of the waiters says he took Louis Payne, the well-known friend of Hamilton Fish to room 303 just before the fire broke out. He returned to the office to get some traps for Mr. Payne and delivered them. As Norman was returning to the elevator dense smoke appeared and he rushed around from room to room to give the alarm to the guests who were in their rooms. Norman was overcome by the smoke, which he says was so dense as to blind him and make it impossible to breathe. He fell unconscious and lay upon the floor some time. The guests came rushing out and some one stumbled over him and fell heavily. This aroused him enough so that he got up and reached a window there he could get fresh air. He escaped from the building none the worse for his experience. Norman said this morning that many servants must have perished in this way. He says they were apprised of the fire in time to save themselves, but that they ran around to arouse the guests, and in doing this they were over come by smoke. Norman was on the fourth floor of the hotel. The servants had their rooms on the fifth floor, and he thinks that those above him were cut off from all escape. Messrs. Herty and Moore, the proprietors of the hotel, devoted this morning to hunting for their missing employes. During the morning they found one of these, but up to 11 o'clock several others could not be found. It was feared that a number of employes were burned alive. Chas. Rosecrans, one of the night clerks, could not be found. He had a room on the fourth floor. He is a son of Wm. Rosecrans, secretary of the Hotelmen's association. Mrs. S. F. Hill, the housekeeper, is missing. She had a room on the top floor. Mary and Bridget Sullivan and Bridget Fitzgibbons, hotel servants, who were on the top floor, have been given up as having perished. It is thought that Kate Crowley, an employe, is dead, as she is missing. So far as known, none of the guests were lost in the fire. At the Albany hospital at noon, the physicians said that the four fire patients remaining there would recover.

Mrs. Henry F. Fooks, wife of the agent of the American Cash Register company, of Dayton, O., was the only death, she dying at the hospital. She jumped from a fourth story window, and it was her husband who clung to the rope fire escape, his feet resting on the cornice of the third story window for ten minutes before a ladder was reached to him.

No attempt has yet been made to examine the ruins. There are still a couple of streams playing upon the smoking mass of debris. The proprietors say that the hotel employes had discovered the fire and had ample opportunity to extinguish it before spreading, but for the lack of water. The house hose was stretched, but there was no force in the water pipes and but a small stream could be secured. The Bradley Martins were dining in state in one of the small dining rooms when the fire broke out. They had only time to escape and saved almost nothing.

Fort Wayne News, Fort Wayne, IN 31 Dec 1894


"E.C. Delevan erected the hotel in 1844 at a cost of over half a million dollars. It burned down in 1894 and the site was used to build Union Station."