New York, NY Madison Street Fire, Aug 1882



Fire broke out at 11:30 o'clock last night on the third floor of the six-story brick building No. 398 Madison-street, occupied by a number of manufacturing firms. The building is 25 feet front and nearly 200 feet deep, running through to Monroe-street, where it is numbered 291. On the west of the building is the six-story chair factory of Police Commissioner Joel W. Mason, Nos. 392, 394, and 396 Madison-street, 100 feet front and 200 feet deep, numbering 285, 287, and 289 on Monroe-street. On the east on Monroe-street is the steam cigar-box factory of Jacob Henkel, and on Madison-street is the boarding and livery stable of Adams & Duane. The fire was discovered by Officer Phillip Mahoney, of the Thirteenth Precinct, on the third floor of No. 398 Madison-street, which is occupied by L. A. & A. C. Warner, manufacturers of folding bedsteads and other furniture. An alarm was sent out without delay, and when the firemen arrived dense smoke was pouring out of the windows of the building on both streets. As a large fire was imminent a third alarm was sent out, and Chief Bates, with a large force of firemen and apparatus was soon on the ground. Meanwhile, the firemen who had gone with their lines of hose into the burning building were driven out by the intense heat and dense smoke, and the fast-increasing flames were fought from the street. Despite the best efforts of the firemen the flames spread with great rapidity, and with a sudden flash rushed up from the third floor to the roof, enveloping the whole building. Great bodies of flame accompanied by showers of sparks and dense columns of smoke belched forth from all the upper floors of the structure. The heat was so intense that the firemen were driven away from the front of the building on Madison-street.

The window-casings of a row of low tenement houses on the opposite side of the street took fire several times, but a dash from a steamers pipe soon placed them out of danger. A "four way butt" was rigged and to this the lines of hose from four steamers were attached and playing through one pipe sent a powerful stream of water to the top of the burning building. It was apparent that the structure could not be saved, and the efforts of the firemen were directed to the surrounding property. Mason's chair factory was on fire several times, and, although in great danger, Chief Bates was in hopes of saving it and the cigar-box factory on the other side.

The burned building was occupied on the first floor by George B. Eddy, dealer in machinery. On the second floor was Emil Steffens, lithographer, L. A. & A. C. Warner occupied the third floor, and the fourth and fifth floors were occupied by Roby & Cole, paper and cardboard manufacturers. The building is owned S. Stewart. The loss on building and stock is estimated at from $60,000 to $75,000.

At 2 o'clock this morning the fire was still burning fiercely, but it was expected that the chair factory would be saved unless the wind shifted. It had been blowing away from the factory all night. In any event there will be heavy water and smoke damage to Mr. Mason's property.

The New York Times, New York, NY 17 Aug 1882