Cleveland, OH Hotel Belden Fire, Nov 1946

Cleveland OH Hotel Belden Fire.jpg



Cleveland, Nov. 19 -- Fire that flashed through the 72-room, residential Hotel Belden on Cleveland's east side left one woman dead today, 11 others injured, five of them seriously, and nearly 80 occupants temporarily homeless.
Assistant Fire Chief JAMES NIMMO estimated damage at $30,000 and said the blaze apparently had a good start before it was reported.
Origin was undetermined, but firemen expressed the opinion it started either from the first floor incinerator of the four-story brick structure or the basement boiler.
While most of the occupants were reading, listening to their radios, or otherwise occupied last night, flames swept up the stairwell, cutting off that means of escape to many top floor residents.
Neighbors heroically led or helped a score or more frightened occupants to safety before fire companies arrived.
MRS. AMELIA HIRSCH, telephone operator at the hotel, turned in the first alarm at 9:27 p.m. last night, then started notifying occupants to leave their rooms. She did not leave the switchboard until all the residents were out.
Two children were hurled from second and third floor windows into the arms of neighbors in the street. Some escaped by tying bed sheets together and letting themselves down from their windows. Ladders were brought hurriedly from homes nearby, and other occupants were brought down them.
The dead woman was identified from a metal tag in her purse as MRS. FREEDA C. SHANKS, a middle-aged widow. Her body bore severe burns but at the county morgue death was attributed to suffocation by smoke.
Of 11 persons taken to hospitals, only five were held overnight.
One occupant of the hotel, WILLIAM J. BROWN, 27, a violinist with the Cleveland orchestra, tossed a $1,000 violin and viola out the window before helping his wife, MARIANNE, 26, a violin teacher, to saftey.

The Marion Star Ohio 1946-11-19


Address of Beldon

I was four years old when this hotel burned. Does anyone know the exact address? I lived on E. 70th St and believe it might have been close by at the Ponce de Leon apartments.

belden Hotel fire

I was the kid that was tossed out the 2nd fl window.My mom tossed me out to some guy.She was afraid to jump so she sat on the window sill till the firemen got there,and got her down.We were trapped in our room.The flames were at our door.I was 6 y/rs old at the time.I remember the
incident very well exceipt I didn't remember it was in Novenber.It must have been cold out,and all I had on was thin short sleeved pj's,and nothing on my feet.I must have been freezing,but sure don't remember that.......I remember hearing that the cause of the fire was the boiler door was left open,and all the fire doors on all the floors were propped open so the fire came up the stairs and into the hallways.Our room was right across from the 2nd fl fire door,so we had no way to get out....thanks to the guy that posted the article.I likedreading it.............My mom amd I got our picture on the front page of the Cleveland News...would love to find that article,and picture.I had a copy,but over the years I lost it .Still to this day am afraid of fires.........Can't believe I now live on the 7th fl of a high rise.But they say if they had to they could get me out of here pretty fast ! lol