Long Island, NY Rockaway Beach fire, Jul 1893


Property Worth $25,000 Destroyed---Two Girls Seriously Burned.

ROCKAWAY BEACH, L. I., July 23.---Rockaway Beach had a twenty-five-thousand-dollar fire this afternoon which at one time threatened to repeat the disastrous one of last Fall when nearly half of the popular resort was wiped out.

Two young women were severely burned.

They were:

FORD, ANNIE, twenty-two years old, of 59 Dean Street, Brooklyn.

FORD, MAGGIE, her sister, twenty-five years old, of same address.

They were visitors to the beach, and were escorted by John Mason of the same address. Their dresses caught fire from falling sparks while they stood at some distance from the main crowd.

The fire destroyed the big artificial ice factory of Jamison & Bond, on Bond Avenue, near the Holland's Station of the Rockaway Beach Railroad. It started just before 5 o'clock in the stables adjoining the ice factory, and in less than ten minutes both buildings were in flames. The flames spread to the large feed warehouse belonging to the same firm, and that, too, with all its contents, was completely destroyed.

Four horses in the stable were lost. Rockaway Beach, warned by the helpless condition its great fire last Fall found it in, bought two steam fire engines. Now the property owners are rejoicing that they made the investment, for it probably saved the whole place to-day. Everything was in condition for a clean sweep by the fire. There was a veritable northwesterly gale blowing in the direction of the Summer hotels, cottages, and amusement pavilions.

Because of the quantity of hay and straw in the feed warehouse, the flames threw out an intense heat and a perfect sea of sparks, which were blown in all directions by the high winds. It was while the fire was at its height that screams were heard coming from the field surrounding the residence of Mr. Jamison of the firm whose property was burning. The clothing of the Ford girls was seen to be in a blaze. Several men ran to their aid. Amiel Stabelmaier of 797 Hart Street, Brooklyn, in his efforts to save Miss Annie Ford, was himself severely burned. He threw her to the ground and rolled her in the green grass.

The girls' outer garments were taken from them and they were carried into the house of O. L. Schwenke in a hysterical condition and in agonies of pain. At the house everything possible was done for them and they were shortly after placed in a coach and taken to Felio's drug store for further treatment. Maggie Ford's dress caught fire in her efforts to extinguish the fire upon her sister's clothing. Later in the evening they were taken home.

Another exciting incident of the fire was the blowing up of the boiler in the ice factory. While the excitement over the Ford girls was at its height, there were shouts and a stampede among the spectators nearest the factory. The stampede increased to a genuine panic. Women and children fell and were trampled upon in the mad haste of the frightened throng.

The loss of Jamison & Bond is complete, and will not be less than $25,000. It is understood that there was no insurance at all on the property.

A line of loaded freight cars, belonging to the Long Island Railroad Company, which were standing near the spot, caught fire, but the blaze was put out and the cars hauled away to a safe distance.

The New York Times, New York, NY 24 Jul 1893