New York, NY Nearly Suffocated by Gas, Jan 1898


A Woman and Her Two Children Found Unconscious in Bed by Her Husband.

Mrs. Kate Hawkes, twenty-nine years old; her son Thomas, six years old, and her daughter Maggie, five years old, were partially suffocated by illuminating gas early yesterday morning in their rooms on the top floor of a five-story tenement house, 72 Amsterdam Avenue. They were removed to Roosevelt Hospital, and it is thought they all will recover.

Thomas Hawkes, the head of the family, is employed in the stable devoted to the horses of the mounted Park Police. His works keeps him out all night. He left the stables at 6 o'clock yesterday morning, and on his way home stopped to attend early mass in the church which he attends, and reached his home at 7:15 o'clock. He found the door to his apartments locked on his return, and not having his key with him, knocked loudly on the door to arouse his wife or children. For several minutes he tried to arouse the inmates of his rooms, but without avail, and then, with the assistance of another tenant in the house, forced the door in.

His apartments consist of two small rooms, one of which is used as a kitchen and sitting room and the other as a bedroom. On forcing the door he was greeted with the strong smell of gas, which filled the rooms and was pouring in volumes from a burner in the kitchen to which the tube to the gas stove is connected when it is in use. The stop cock was turned full on. In the other room he found his wife and two children, all occupying the same bed, unconscious from escaping gas.

An ambulance was quickly summoned and the three patients were removed to the hospital. The children soon revived, but the woman's condition was more serious.

The police have no doubt that the case is one of accident. The gas fixture in the room has two valves, one for illumination and the other for the stove. The burner used for illuminating purposes was lighted and the other, which is close to it, was accidentally turned on by Mrs. Hawkes when she retired on Saturday night.

The New York Times, New York, NY 31 Jan 1898