New York, NY apartment fire, Jul 1909


Tenants Are Leaving an Apartment House in Upper Seventh Avenue.

The regular semi-weekly fire started in the five-story apartment house at 1,964 Seventh Avenue, near 119th Street, last night in due time - 9 o'clock. William H. Cosman, head of the last family to leave the house, helped the police and the firemen put out the flames, and then continued the packing of his goods for removal. He had reluctantly begun packing when the fire began.

The first of the month's eight fires visited the house on July 4. It was a little blaze, easily put out, but when two fires came the next night the tenants began to move out. None of the fires did any large damage, partly because the dwindling number of tenants came to the point where they patrolled the hallways sniffing for the odor of something burning.

The house was sold during the month to an Italian, who put on guard Louis Rosie, a watchman. His presence had no effect on the fires, though he was helpful in putting them out. By the beginning of last week all the tenants except Cosman had left. Even his wife had gone to visit relatives. He said he would try it a while longer. He had already gone through seven fires in a month.

He was going downstairs last night at 9 o'clock from the third floor, where he lives, to see a tailor in one of the stores beneath. His trained nostrils detected the odor of something burning. The fires have usually been on the upper floors, and so he ran first to the top floor. There it was in the china closet of the rear apartment on the south. The first fire of the last week was in the china closet of the apartment in the rear and on the north.

Cosman ran out and gave the alarm. When he came back he found in the house Alexander Reed of 135 East 149th Street and Henry Schatman of 213 West 140th Street, two youths who said they had run to help put out the fire. They were arrested as suspicious persons on complaint of the owner of the building.

The New York Times, New York, NY, 1 Aug 1909