123

Oswayo, PA McGonigal Hotel Fire, Nov 1900

Aerial View of Oswayo PA

AWAKENED BY FLAMES.

TERRIBLE FIRE IN A SMALL HOTEL AT OSWAYO, PA.

FOUR MEN BURNED TO DEATH.

TWENTY-SIX OTHER PERSONS HAD NARROW ESCAPES -- STORY OF A MAN WHO FOUGHT THROUGH FLAMES TO LIBERTY -- CHAMBERMAID JUMPED INTO A TREE.

Oswayo, Pa., Nov. 19. -- Four men were burned to death in a fire which yesterday destroyed the McGonigal House, a three story frame building, the hotel barn and the Opera House. Three buildings were burned to the ground in half an hour from the time the fire started.
The dead:
ARTHUR FLETCHER, bookkeeper for Penn Stove company, home in Boston.
MICHAEL RUSSELL, employe Penn Tanning company, Oswayo.
WILLIAM MULLHANEY, of Rexford, N. Y.
HUGH JAMERSON, of Alfred, N. Y.
The town has no fire deaprtment, the only protection being a pump at the tannery. The fire originated in the McGonigal House from an over pressure of natural gas. There were 30 people in the hotel, which was a flimsy structure. Two men were seriously injured. OTTO KAULEY, a gas line walker, of Coudersport, Pa., was burned about the face and arms and JERRY DAILEY sustained a broken shoulder by jumping from the third story of the hotel. There were many narrow escapes, most of the occupants jumping from the windows. The flames licked up the hotel building as if it were build of tinder. Nothing remains of the four unfortunate men but a few charred bones. One man had a leg broken in jumping and several others received minor injuries and slight burns in making the exit from the building. The tannery employes connected a line of hose to the burning buildings, but on account of some trouble with the pump there was considerable delay in getting a stream on the fire until the flames had got beyond control. The property loss is estimated at $5,000.
Superintendent JOHN GOOD, of the Pennsylvania Tanning company, was the first man who realized the extent of the catastrophe. His residence is across the street from the hotel property. The explosions awakened him. He rushed downstairs and out into the street, sounding the alarm as he went. Going to the various mills in the town, where the fires had been banked for the Sabbath, he pulled the steam whistles wide open. The scene presented was a grotesque one. Huddled in groups were bewildered men, women and children half clothed. The flames, which had by this time entirely enveloped the McGonigal House, lit up the gray dawn of the morning, while from the inside were heard the agonized shrieks of the inmates.

Continued on Page 2.

123