New York, NY Park Avenue Hotel Fire, Feb 1902 - part 2
Inmates of the Hotel Appear at the Window.
At this moment at the windows on the Park avenue side of the hotel appeared seven persons at different places. Of these four were women and three men. Some were fully clad, others only half so.
CLINTON FALLS, an adjutant of the Seventh Regiment, who has lived at the Park Avenue for some time, appeared at a window on the sixth floor. MR. And MRS. BRADLEY, who were to leave to-day on the transport McClellan for Manilla, appeared at a third floor window, at the Thirty-third street corner.
MRS. CHARLOTTE BENNETT and her husband, HAROLD, of Alabama, stood on a ledge on the fifth floor, just over the portico over the main entrance to the hotel. MRS. BENNETT was terror stricken and screamed again and again for some one to rescue her. Her husband grasped her, and from the crowd of thousands gathered in the streets there were shouted warnings not to jump.
Woman Jumps to Her Death From the Fifth Floor.
When it was seen that she was determined to jump, the firemen gathered in a circle and stretched out their arms. With a final desperate effort MRS. BENNETT wrenched herself free from her husband's grasp and with a piercing scream flung herself into the arms of the waiting firemen five stories below. When she jumped from the ledge on which she and her husband had stood the flames were licking out of the window behind her and around her form. The inside of the BENNETT'S rooms was all in flames.
MRS. BENNETT struck in the arms of the firemen. Her weight caused them to sag and the woman struck the pavement. She was terribly burned about the body. She was carried into the hotel by Fireman O'CONNOR and down into the cafe. There the hospital ambulance surgeons, who had been called, were at work. The woman was later taken to the Bellevue Hospital, where she died an hour afterward.
Her husband, when MRS. BENNETT jumped, disappeared back into his room. He was not seen afterward.
Thrilling Escape of MR. And MRS. BRADLEY.
MR. and MRS. BRADLEY appeared at a window on the fifth floor on the Park avenue side of the building, near Thirty-third street. MRS. BRADLEY appeared to be cool; her husband hysterical. MRS. BRADLEY stepped out of her window on an eighteen inch ledge. This ledge was covered with ice and snow.
On this narrow coping, with their bodies pressed close up against the hot walls of the building, MR. And MRS. BRADLEY crept hand in hand for over sixty feet to a point directly above the portico in the midle [sic] of the hotel, upon which a dozen firemen stood and from which they had raised ladders to the fifth floor. Then the two climbed down on the ladders, were helped down on to the portico, and from there down to the street by the aid of two score firemen.
When the couple had ended their dangerous walk along the hotel, and placed their feet upon the ladder, a cheer that was mighty went up from the crowd in the street. It was only equaled when the two were landed safely in the street, without scratch or burn.
Seventh Regiment Officer Calmly Awaits Rescue.
During all this time, twenty minutes having elapsed, Adjutant FALLS, tall and white-haired, stood on the ledge of the window of his room on the sixth floor. He was clad in white pajamas. Although the smoke was pouring out of the window all about him, he never once flinched and waited stoically until it was his turn to be aided down by the firemen. The crowd shouted words of encouragement to him.
Finally his turn came. Fireman O'BRIEN was ordered up from the top of the portico to FALLS' window, directly above, on a scalding ladder. O'BRIEN went to the top of the ladder, reaching to the fifth floor ledge only. From this he threw up the scaling ladder to the ledge on which FALLS stood. Five minutes it took to fasten the ladder. The ledge was icy and the ladder would not stick.
FALLS helped all this time. Finally he jammed the ladder down and it caught on the ledge. FALLS then descended the ladder to the portico, aided by Fireman O'BRIEN. When he was finally taken to the street he was almost overcome from exposure. As he went down the ladder it swayed and FALLS nearly fell. O'BRIEN then carried him down the rest of the way. He was taken into the hotel cafe, where he was treated by the Bellevue ambulance surgeons and later left. He secured some clothing and where he went was not learned.
Eleven Persons Rescued From the Sixth Floor.
Meanwhile Captain DONOHUE of truck No. 7 and a number of firemen had raised an eighty-five foot extension ladder up to the sixth floor on the Thirty-second street end of the hotel. From this ladder they carried down eleven persons, men and women, whose names they did not take, nor did the police secure them.
Three persons whose names are unknown, were rescued from the Thirty-third street end of the building.
Captain DELANEY of the East Thirty-fifth street station, went into the building, where, on the second floor he found an old woman, whose name is said to have been DYEA, almost unconscious from smoke. He picked her up in his arms and carried her to the stret [sic] by way of the main entrance of the hotel.
Gallant Work of the Fire Chaplains.
Chaplain SMITH of the Fire Department found BISHOP LUDDEN of Syracuse in his room on the seventh floor. He helped him to the street. BISHOP LUDDEN told the firemen then that there were, on the fourth floor, a number of other priests, including MONSIGNOR KENNEY, also of Syracuse. The fire chaplain returned into the building. He found his way through the smoke and up the stairs to the fourth floor.
He gathered the priests all together from two adjoining rooms and had them wrap wet towels about their heads. He then guided them down the stairs and through the rotunda into the office.
Chaplain WALKLEY of the Fire Department, at the head of the fifth stairway, stumbled over the body of Colonel ALEXANDER M. PIPER, U. S. A. retired, lying insensible on the carpet.
He found that Colonel PIPER had been overcome by smoke. He picked up the inert body and as best he could staggered down the stairway to the rotunda.
A Policeman Rescues Several Persons.
Policeman HODGINS of the East Twenty-second street station, found a MRS. BAUSCH sitting on the ledge of a window on the sixth floor on the Thirty-third street side. The woman is aged and partially paralyzed. She was clad only in her night clothing. With her was her nurse, AGNES SCHANZ.
HODGINS went through their rooms, pulled the two in from their perilous positions, and carried MRS. BAUSCH down the stairway, showing the nurse the way. He returned to the fourth floor and there found MR. And MS. WELD. Both were partially overcome by the smoke, and he carried them down the stairs. Half way down he met Father CONNOLLY, from Binghamton, who had lost his way, and did not know how to get out. He talked to the priest, telling him how to get out. In the meantime MISS SCHANZ had fainted. Father CONNOLLY turned about, picked up the unconscious form of the nurse and he and the policeman found their way downstairs through the blinding, choking smoke into the rotunda and thence into the street.
DR. ALBERT LEE SELLENINGS of 102 East Thirty-first street, Manhattan, a spectator to the fire, made his way into the hotel and on the third floor, in the hallway, found the form of an unconscious woman. She was carried out by him. The police did not obtain her name.
When MR. READ, the proprietor of the hotel, realized the magnitude of the fire he rushed upstairs to rescue his wife, who was asleep in her apartments on the fourth floor on the Thirty-third street end of the hotel. He made his way through the flames and smoke to get to her room, and when he got there he found the room vacant. He was badly burned about the hands and face. He ran downstairs again. There he made frantic endeavors to find his wife. At last he heard from the housekeeper of the hotel that his wife had been safely taken from her room downstairs.
Colonel BURDETT Killed While Dropping From a Window.
Colonel CHARLES L. BURDETT of the First Connecticut infantry, United States Volunteers, met his death in a terrible manner after making a heroic effort to save his life. His body, with the skull split open, was found shortly after 6 o'clock this morning by Detective Sergeants O'DONOHUE, CAPPER and KEANY. It was lying in the courtyard within the hotel.. BURDETT had fallen at least six stories.
COLONEL BURDETT was a guest on the eighth floor of the hotel. When the alarm of fire reached him escape was cut off. His room faced the court. Apparently he had dragged the mattress from his bed and dropped it to the roof of an extension over the hotel dining room several stories below. Then, by knotting the sheets together, he made a rope and secured it to the window. When his preparations were complete â€“ they must have been finished in a few moments â€“ he lowered himself on the improvised rope and then dropped. His design was to land on the mattress and thus have the frightful fall broken. He miscalculated the distance, went beyond the extension and was instantly killed, his head being crushed against the paved surface of the courtyard.
Brooklyn Eagle New York 1902-02-22