New York, NY Front Street Fire, Jun 1884



About 7 o'clock last evening Officer Purley, of the Fourth Precinct, discovered smoke issuing from the third floor of the five-story double building Nos. 258 and 255 Front-street, occupied by Atterbury Brothers, dealers in paper and paper stock. Upon the arrival of the engines the fire seemed to have extended well through the floor, and the first alarm was quickly followed by a second and third. Much time was lost in opening the iron shutters, and this done, a party wall was another obstacle to the work of the firemen, as the many arches gave ample opportunity for the spread of the fire. It quickly spread to the fourth and fifth floors and out at the roof, and before extinguished they were almost completely gutted and the lower floors thoroughly deluged with water. It was roughly estimated that the loss to the Atterbury Brothers would reach $12,000 and the damage to the building--owned by the Lorillard estate--about $4,000. The firm also occupied the upper floor of the building No.158 South-street, a bridge connecting the two buildings. The other part of the building is occupied by J. H. Snelling, dealer in yacht fixtures,&c. A line of hose was taken through this building and across the bridge, and through this Mr. Snelling sustained damage from water amounting to $2,000. All the losses are fully insured.

At 9:30 o'clock the fire was about out, though three or four streams of water were still being thrown upon the smoking bales of paper and waste in the upper floors. At this time Joshua A. Wallace, of No. 12 Engine, who had been holding the pipe from a ladder placed against the fifth story, was relieved by Thomas Deevy of the same company. He started to go down the ladder, when, either overcome by the heat or missing his footing, he fell to the street, a distance of 35 feet and was instantly killed. The body was taken to the Fourth Precinct Station. Wallace had been connected with the department about four years, and is said to have been a brave fireman, well liked by all his associates. He was about 29 years old, born in this city, and resided at No. 154 Madison-street. He was married, but without children.

In going to the fire the tender of Engine Company No. 7 was overturned at Pearl and Dover streets, and several of the men riding upon it received painful bruises. It was at first reported that some of them were seriously injured, and an ambulance call was sent out, but before its arrival it was stated that all were at work at the scene of the fire.

The New York Times, New York, NY 26 Jun 1884