Philadelphia, PA Business Block Fire, Dec 1851


Philadelphia, Saturday, Dec. 27.
A destructive fire broke out at 1 o'clock this morning, in HART'S Building, corner of Sixth and Chestnut streets. The flames spread with great rapidity, destroying the entire building, together with several book and music stores, and PARKER'S Restaurant in the basement.
The flames spread to the Shakespere building on the opposite side of Sixth street, and adjoining Chestnut street Theatre, which was also entirely destroyed, as was also BROWN'S Hotel, and HART'S building adjoining on Chestnut street.
About three o'clock, the walls of HART'S Building fell into the street, instantly killing two colored men and severely injuring several firemen and police. There is also reason to fear that several other persons were killed, as the streets were crowded at the time the walls fell.
The entire block on the west side of Sixth street, from Chestnut to Carpenter sts., is a heap of ruins.
Besides the buildings above named, JOHNSON'S law book store, and several other valuable stores on each side of Sixth st. and the north side of Chesnut st., are entirely burnt out.
Several other buildings on both sides of Sixth street are much damaged.
The fire was got under at about 9 o'clock this forenoon.
It is reported that police officer JOHNSON was killed. W. W. HALEY, Esq., is missing, and it is feared was killed by the falling walls.
The loss is roughly estimated at $200,000.
The heaviest losses fall upon DR. SCHENCK, whose establishment was entirely destroyed; T. & T. W. JOHNSON, law Booksellers, H. BLAKESTON, GETZ & BUCK, Booksellers, J. W. MOORE, Booksellers, and the owners of several Music, Periodical, and other stores on Sixth st., all of which were entirely destroyed, with their contents.
Workmen are engaged in removing the rubbish from the streets, and in searching for the bodies of those who may have been buried under the fallen walls.

Sunday, Dec. 28.
Workmen have been engaged all day in removing the rubbish from Sixth and Chesnut streets. The body of W. W. HALEY has not yet been found.
WM. BAKER, of the Mayor's Police, and JESSE PYLE and JAMES COOK, members of the Morris Hose Company, are missing, and, it is greatly feared, were buried under the fallen walls.

The New York Times New York 1851-12-29