New York City, NY Elm Street Fire, Feb 1860



The disastrous fire and loss of life which occurred at No. 42 Elm Street, on Thursday evening, was the theme of painful remark in the City yesterday and the vicinity of the terrible catastrophe was visited by curious crowds during the day to view the ruins, which required the presence of a strong force of the Police to control. Cords were stretched across the street to prevent interference with the work of removing the ruins. The search for the bodies supposed to have been buried beneath them commenced at an early hour, under the superintendent of the Police. Mr. Carpenter employed twenty five laborers to assist. About 5 o'clock the body of a woman and child, charred almost beyond the power of recognition, was discovered in the front part of the building, near the door of the bakery. The intense heat which prevailed it was thought, would so completely destroy the bodies that it would be impossible to discover them. Few of the unfortunate tenants who escaped were able to return to view the wreck of their former home most of them either being injured in their efforts to escape from the building, or were scattered in different parts of the City, endeavoring to provide, as best they might, for their families. Nothing whatever was saved by the sufferers, except the scanty clothing they had on when the alarm was given. Many of the children were in bed, and were carried thence into the street. The severity of the season greatly aggrevates the disaster of these poor people, who must be dependent upon the kindness of neighbors or friends for temporary shelter. The actual loss of life, we are happy to state, has been exaggerated, if the accounts thus far obtained are reliable, and probably does not exceed nine or ten. A list of the tenants, furnished by Mrs. Schauss, the wife of the agent, shows that there were:
On the first floor two families, viz: FERDINAND TESTLIN, mother and three boarders, occupying the basement as a shop, and apartments on the first floor. They were saved. JOHN DEVRIES, grocery, with his wife and child, also saved.
On the second floor, back, were WM. D. YOUNG
wife and two children, FREDERICK MEYER, wife and two children, all of whom escaped by the back stairs, losing all their effects. The front rooms were occupied by ANTONIO ABACK, his wife, three adults and two children, SOLOMON SCHILDEBERG, wife and six children, all of whom escaped.

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