Brooklyn, NY Weldman Cooperage Fire, Jun 1900

Four Die In Fire Trap Blaze

Twelve Others Badly Hurt During Fire at a Brooklyn Cooperage.

Daring Rescues By Firemen

Three Gas and a Large Standard Oil Tank, Close to the Burning Building, Five the Entire Fire Department Plenty of Work.

New York.-June 18.-Four men dead, one other fatally injured, and a dozen more badly hurt is the result of a fire that broke out at 5:45 o’clock yesterday afternoon in the Weidmann Cooperage, North Eleventh Street and Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn. The building was burned out. It was a fur story brick structure, where a hundred men were employed at the time of the fire. It extended from No. 62 to No. 72 North Eleventh Street, back to North Twelfth Street, and from Wythe Avenue, half way to Kent Avenue.

The fire broke out on the third floor of the building, and when the engines arrived the building was enveloped in flames. The first alarm was sent in by telephone by an emplo9yee, and three other alarms were turned in quickly by the police when it was seen how rapidly the inflammable material in the building-about ten thousand barrels-was being attacked by the flames. Engines Nos. 13 and 21 responded to the first alarm. Eight engines and three trucks in all answered to the different alarms. A water tower also arrived, but was not used.

Owing to the rapid spread of the flames the escape of many of the employees in the building seemed for a time to be cut off. There was a one story extension at North Eleventh Street and Wythe Avenue, and there the firemen on the roof spread a net, into which many of the employees leaped and escaped serious injury. The heat, however, soon became to intense, and the firemen had to abandon their posts. Other men jumped from the first and second story windows, in most instances receiving injuries, which in some cases, stated, were treated at the hospital, and in others they were able to go home after treatment on the spot by the ambulance surgeons.

When the wall fell in North Eleventh Street, about 7 o’clock, there was thrown out into the roadway the body of a man so terribly burned that it could not be identified. This body was taken to the Bedford Avenue police station.

James Haslett, of No. 49 Kent Avenue, climbed up the fire escape to the first story, where several of the employees were hanging out of the upper windows, apparently panic stricken and screaming for help. He rescued two men, and when he reached the ground an old man, with clothes ablaze jumped out of the first story and landed on Haslett, cutting his head and face. The firemen of Engine No. 12 rescued several men whose clothes were on fire from the second and third floors.

A big tank of the Standard Oil Works in the rear of the building was carefully looked after by the firemen, who constantly kept streams of water playing upon it. Two frame dwelling houses at Nos. 59 and 61 North Eleventh Street, were damaged by water and partly burned. The ten families occupying them got out in safety.

The damage by fire and water was estimated by the police at $75,000. The cooperage is owned by Louis and Paul Weidman and their mother. Louis Weidman refused last night to give any estimate of the loss. The property was insured.

Thousands of spectators gathered to see the blaze. The fire lines were in charge of Captain Short, with the reserves from the Fifty-ninth, Sixty-second, Sixty-third and Sixty-fourth precincts. Private Woodford of the Ambulance Corps at Governor’s Island gave valuable volunteer aid to the ambulance physicians in caring for the injured.

New Haven Register, New Haven, CT 13 Jun 1900