New York, NY Theatre Fire, Jul 1911


Blaze Near the Liberty in East New York Cut Off the Lights.

All the fire apparatus in the eastern end of Brooklyn was called out last night by four alarms which were turned in for a blaze which started in a six-story loft building at Liberty and Christopher Avenues, East New York. The fire was discovered at 8:30 o'clock, having started in an unknown manner, and two hours later the loft building had been destroyed, together with two smaller buildings adjoining it, while the fire had spread to a row of tenements a block away.

A high wind carried embers and sparks for blocks through the air and it was in this way that the row of tenements at 222, 224, 226, and 228 Sackman Street became ignited. The firemen were able to keep the flames confined to the roofs of these houses.

The fire started on the third floor of the loft building and ate its way quickly to the roof. The frame construction of the building provided perfect fuel, and the fire raged hotter and hotter. Deputy Chief Goodison had a company fighting the fire from the roof of a two-story frame building adjoining the loft building in Stone Avenue, when he noticed the walls of the loft building began to shake and he ordered his men off the adjoining roof. The last man had scarcely got away from the danger zone when the wall fell with such force that it bore the frame dwelling next door to the ground.

The wall on Christopher Street fell a few moments later, and this carried down with it the feed wires of the Bergen Street trolley car line. The wires thrashed around like live snakes, and Fireman John Connors of Engine 157 was burned badly when a line of wet hose he was dragging fell across a live wire. He was taken to St. Mary's Hospital, where it was said he would recover.

The tearing down of the wires had caused every light to be extinguished in the Liberty Theater, a block away, and there was almost a panic in the playhouse, which was crowded, until Police Captain Frank ran in and explained what had caused the extinguishing of the lights. Then the audience filed out quietly.

The entire damage was estimated at $125,000.

The New York Times, New York, NY 17 Jul 1911