Seattle, WA Lincoln Hotel Fire, Apr 1920

Lincoln Hotel postcard view Ruins of the Lincoln Hotel

BERKELEY MAN AND DAUGHTER LEAP TO DEATH IN HOTEL FIRE.

THREE DEAD IN DISASTER AT SEATTLE.

HUNDREDS WITNESS FATAL LEAP OF MAN AND DAUGHTER; MANY GUESTS RESCUED BY FIREMEN; FIVE PERSONS ARE INJURED.

MOTHER AND SISTER OF EASTBAY SOCIETY YOUNG WOMAN ARE PROSTRATED; BUSINESS MAN PROMINENT IN BAY DISTRICT.

Seattle, April, 7. -- Another body, believed to be that of MISS BLANCHE CROWE, Seattle, 20, was found in the ruins of the Lincoln hotel here today. MISS CROWE, it was thought, was an employee of a Seattle restaurant.

FRED R. HAMILTON, former chief deputy county surveyor of Alameda county and a well-known business man of Berkeley, and his 20-year-old daughter, MISS GRACE HAMILTON, prominent in Berkeley social affairs, were instantly killed early today in Seattle when they leaped from the fifth floor of the seven-story Hotel Lincoln, which was destroyed by fire. It is feared that six other guests perished in the flames.
Press despatches received here tell of the father and daughter, crazed by the fear that they would perish in the flames, which were rapidly creeping toward them and which had shut off all escape by the fire escape or stairway rushing to the windows of their rooms and leaping to the street. Their bodies fell upon the sidewalk, and death was almost instantaneous.
As they rushed to the window and prepared to leap, despite the cries of firemen and spectators to wait, firemen were rescuing guests who were trapped on the upper floors. Scaling ladders were placed against the side of the burning building and many heroic rescues were effected by the firemen. Although no accurate check has yet been made, it is feared that ten guests perished in the hotel when the floors collapsed. Efforts to locate their bodies are being made today.
The hotel contained 265 rooms and, according to press despatches, they were packed with guests. The first alarm was sounded shortly after midnight and when the firemen arrived they found the stairways and halls packed by the frightened men and women. The flames spread so rapidly that all of the people could not be taken out and a panic ensued.
HAMILTON and his daughter left the family home at 2237 Virginia street two weeks ago, the latter having been called to Seattle to attend a meeting of the directors of Puss'n Boots confectionery stores, of which he was the president. His daughter accompanied him for a pleasure trip.
When word of the tragedy reached the family home today, MRS. HAMILTON and her daughter, CLARA BELLE were prostrated with grief. GRACE was the second of three children, the third child being a son, SEAVER, who is a student at the University of California.
Today's tragedy recalls an incident that occurred shortly before last Chirstmas, when MRS. HAMILTON and her two daughters were overcome by the fumes of a gas heater in their home and were only saved from death by the arrival of a friend, who carried them to safety.
HAMILTON, aged 52 years, was very widely known in Alameda county. After retiring from the office of chief deputy county surveyor, he became president of the Long Point Island Company, a land corporation at Bay Point, Contra Costa county. Four years ago the family moved to Berkeley, and since that time HAMILTON had been associated with the Puss'n Boots Company. EDWARD H. HAMILTON of the San Francisco Examiner is his brother.
MISS GRACE HAMILTON was a graduate of MISS HEAD'S school in Berkeley, and ever since her residence here had been very active in social affairs.
Arrangements for the funeral will not be made until further information is received from the northern city.
Hundreds of spectators gathered in the streets saw HAMILTON and his daughter jump to their death.
Firemen climbing the sides of the building with scaling ladders rescued a number of guests whose escape had been cut off. Over 200 guests scantily clad made their way to safety down smoke-filled stairways.
The fire was discovered by FRANK A. JACOBS, a local photographer who was spending the night at the hotel. He had just entered the place and was going to his room when he saw smoke pouring from the laundry. Rushing to a telephone he notified the fire department and then hurried back to the corridors, arousing the guests.
The fire spread rapidly, smoke filling the building and causing a panic among the guests who rushed to the elevators only to find them jammed at the second floor. The stairways were filled with smoke and the guests were forced to return to their rooms, from which they were rescued by firemen with ropes and scaling ladders.
At 2:30 the west wall of the hotel fell, pinning beneath it Fireman CHARLES F. LA CASSE, who sustained a dislocated hip, broken ribs and collar bone.
At 7:30 the fire had been brought under control. The building is a total loss.

Oakland Tribune California 1920-04-07