Rochester, PA Fatal Business and Dwelling Fire, Apr 1891



Rochester, Pa., April 6. -- There has been nine bodies found at the fire on New York street, which occurred last night. Only two have been recognized. They MR. KEENE and his son, who was a shoemaker. One hundred and fifty dollars in gold was found in the ruins, supposed to have belonged to the Italians. The Italian girl, who is the only one of the family saved, who jumped from the second story window, says that there is $500 more still in the ashes.
The conclusion arrived at is that the Italians became confused and could not find the stairway, which was a narrow one, and to reach which it required the opening of two doors in the rear of the buildings. The scene of the Italian father lying upon his bed surrounded by the flames until the bed dropped through the floor, was sickening in the extreme. The frightened man seemed to cling tightly to his bed and made but a slight struggle.
The fire broke out about midnight in a large frame building occupied by E. J. KEENE as a dwelling and shoe store, MRS. BALL as a millinery store, and GEO. EDWARDS as a tea and coffee store. The fire started in the kitchen of KEENE'S residence, and he and his son WALTER were overpowered by the smoke and were not discovered until too late to save them.
The other persons mentioned escaped, but a number of Italians occupying the upper rooms of a portion of the building were burned to death, with the exception of one of them, MARIE TECCHIO, a girl of 16 years, who escaped with slight injuries by leaping from an upstairs window.
MARIE TECCHIO, who escaped by jumping from the second story, although not seriously injured, is prostrated. She talked incoherrently and seems to remember but little of the frightful struggles of her kinsmen. She said that when she awoke the fire was burning below and their rooms were filled with smoke. She slept in the back room, her mother and children in the middle room, and her father and his brother, VICTORIA TECCHIO and JOSEPH RAEME, both visitors, occupied the front room. MARIE tried to arouse her people, but they were already asphyxiated. She staid[sic] until the fire burned her and she was compelled to jump for her life from a window.
All the bodies have been recovered. They are now lying side by side in an adjoining building.
There is no definite evidence as to how the fire started, but it is the opinion of the authorities, and it seems to be the correct one, that a lamp left burning by MR. KEENE in his kitchen exploded and fired the house. There seems to be no indication of incendiarism.
The total loss is $6,000, which is fully covered by insurance. A revised list of the dead follows:
C. J. KEENE, aged 40.
WALTER KEENE, his son, aged 9.
BAPTISTE TECCHIO, aged 35, his wife.
VICTORIE TECCHIO, aged 37, brother of BAPTISTE.
JOSEPH RAEME, aged 35, place of residence unknown.

Sandusky Daily Register Ohio 1891-04-07