New York, NY House Fire, Jul 1909


Two Women and a Child Saved from Fire and Smoke.

A fire that destroyed the three-story frame dwelling at 221 East 148th Street yesterday caused a lot of excitement and was attended by several hairbreadth escapes. The house is owned by Denis Sullivan, who lives with his family on the first floor. In the Sullivan apartment when the fire was discovered were Florence and Helen Sullivan, aged 16 and 14 respectively, and Miss Annie Orpen, a cousin.

Some boys who were playing in the street noticed smoke pouring out of the cellar and shouted to Florence that the house was afire. The girl started down the cellar stairs to make an investigation, and was returning when flames and smoke burst out almost beneath her feet at the top of the steps. She beat a hasty retreat to the cellar and crawled up a flight of narrow stairs that led to the kitchen in the rear. Then she ran to the front room looking on to the street, but before she could open the window she fell to the floor exhausted.

Men who had seen her at the window smashed the glass and succeeded in getting her out of the room safely. She was revived in a nearby drug store. Meantime the flames had spread to the upper floors with great rapidity. Mrs. Alice Jenkins, who lives on the top floor, was visiting a friend across the street when she saw her home in flames. She quickly ran across the street, and crying "My baby! My baby!" darted into the burning building before she could be restrained. On the third floor she grabbed her sleeping four-year-old child from its crib, but her retreat was cut off at the second floor, the stairs burning briskly when she started to descend.

Almost overcome by the smoke, the now frantic mother entered the apartment occupied by Mrs. Geary, who had made her escape at the first alarm of fire and had sufficient strength to reach the open window of the second floor. She fell across the casement. Policemen Moss and Moylan of the Alexander Avenue Station climbed to a shed underneath the window, and Moss, mounting on the back of Moylan, was able to climb into the window. He then handed the woman and child to Moylan, and they were carried to the drug store. She, too, was revived. The baby, which had been carefully wrapped by the mother in a shawl, escaped without injury. The damage was $3,000.

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