Providence, RI Calendar Building Fire, Nov 1882
While the firemen were incapable of doing any good, the Police, with the assistance of volunteering physicians and citizens improvised stretches and removed the dead and dying to the office of the New-York, Providence and Boston Railroad, near by, where those to whom medical service was of any use were temporarily treated, while the Catholics received the attention of Father Hughes, of the cathedral.
As soon as the Police ambulances and other carriages could be procured the wounded were taken to the Rhode Island Hospital, while the dead were carried to the Morgue. The list of fatalities and casualties is as follows:
Dead.---BESSIE COBB, 18 years old, skull fractured and back broken; EMMA GASSETT, 19 years old, skull fractured; MARY McSOLEY, a young girl, back reported broken; THOMAS S. MANN, both legs broken and burned.
Wounded.---Isabella Baker, one eye destroyed and serious injury about the head; Mary Harty, arm and leg broken; Mary Geary, arm broken and otherwise injured; Mary Davis, head cut badly and injured internally; Lena Kuiz, seriously injured about the body; Mary Cuddy, severe injuries to her head; Florence Redding, serious injuries to head and internal hurts of a possible fatal nature; Emma Matthewson, left leg and ankle broken; Mrs. Mary Johnson, burned badly, leg broken, and other serious injuries; Mr. N. P. Maker, hands severely burned; Thomas Ryan, head and face severely cut and bruised; Frank Flinn, the first man to jump from the window, was slightly hurt; Andrew Gilbride, painful cuts and bruises; Mr. Smith, leg broken, taken to hospital; Stella Gassett, hurt internally and spine injured, thought to be fatally injured; George Grant, North Attleboro, leg broken and internally injured; Joseph P. Baker, father of Isabella, face, ears, and hands burned.
To-night none of those thought to be seriously and perhaps fatally injured are any better. Grant has had symptoms, and Miss Gassett, sister of Emma Gassett, is unconscious. From the story told by Joseph P. Baker, it is believed that the people in Robinson's shop might all have been rescued without injury. The help, he says, sat in the windows and called to the ladder men to hurry, else they would be burned to death. They sat waiting for relief, and were horror-stricken at the too apparent impotence of the firemen who were wasting their time over the patent truck after the first two girls were rescued by the citizens who ran up the ladder, Mr. Baker, seeing that the flames would soon be upon him, seized Miss Cobb by the wrists and swung her, as he thought, to the ladder. Then he took his own daughter and passed her out. As he did so he saw both of them were falling to the ground. He then got out of the window and hung on to the casing till the flames swept over his hands and face, causing him to let go his hold. Fortunately he swung upon the ladder and got to the ground all right.
The fire was all out in three-quarters of an hour. One young man saved his life by reaching out and seizing a small telephone, to which he hung with a firm grip until a ladder could be put under him. The strangest thing of all was that ladders were not placed on the two-story building next to the Calendar building, and from there to the upper windows of the burning structure. Moreover, although there were plenty of blankets handy, not one was used as a fender for the people to jump upon or into.
The loss is as follows: On building, $2,500, insured; J. W. Grant & Co., jewelry, $20,000; insurance $10,000; W. H. Robinson, jewelry, $15,000; insurance $8,000; "Le Jolly" Dye-house, $1,000; insurance, $500. The other losses and insurance are not known. There was not an inch of available fire-hose in the building. Neither were there any fire-extinguishers. The Fire Department is roundly taken to task to-night by all of the city papers for the impotence displayed in handling the fire and allowing the people to be forced to jump from the building.
The New York Times, New York, NY 22 Nov 1882
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