Green Bay, WI Astor Hotel Fire, Feb 1966





Green Bay (AP) - Eight persons died today as an early morning fire destroyed the old three story Astor Hotel in downtown Green Bay.
Thirty other guests escaped, several of them after being trapped for three hours in their rooms. Five of those rescued were hospitalized for smoke inhalation.
The flames were extinguished about 7 a.m. and wrecking crews were summoned to begin taking down the ruins as soon as firemen finished their perilous task of removing bodies.
First of the victims to be identified was MRS. EDNA COLLE, 38, of nearby Luxemberg, Wis.
Other dead were identified as:
DAVID LA PRAIRIE, 66, Wisconsin Rapids.
JOSEPH FERRIS, 60, Green Bay.
FRANK CORNIEA, 42, Green Bay.
JOSEPHINE COX, 48, home address not known.
CHARLES GOULD, 45, Madison.
The fire was reported at 12:30 a.m. Firemen, coated in ice, battled the flames in 15 degree cold and snow flurries. The roof fell in and the walls of the brick structure buckled as flames shot 60 feet above the roof.
Firemen said the blaze apparently began in the rear of the first or second floor and worked its way up to the roof, where it traveled the length of the building.
Cause of the fire was not determined Fire Chief Dave Zuidmulder, placed a tentative estimate of damage at $150,000. He was at Madison, some 150 miles away, when notified of the blaze, but raced back here.
MRS. COLLE was identified by her husband, Peter, and a daughter, by means of a locket on her clothing. They said it was her custom to spend Thursday nights bowling in Green Bay, staying overnight at a hotel and working during the day as a waitress. Luxemburg is about 15 miles from Green Bay.
Three of the injured persons were rescued, after spending three hours in their rooms while flames crackled through the hotel.
At least six persons climbed to safety from windows in front of the hotel.
Firemen found an elderly man lying in a second-floor corridor when they entered the hotel some three hours after the fire began. He was taken to St. Vincent Hospital with other victims, whose conditions were not learned at once.
Also hospitalized for observation was a youth in his late teens or early 20s. Firemen said the youth told them he opened the door of his second-floor room, saw flames and slammed the door. The youth said he had waited 2 1/2 hours to be rescued.
One of the 30 residents who fled the hotel to safety, John Cross, 49, said:
" I don't know what happened. It's just lucky I'm alive. I crawled down those steps on my hands and knees. I pretty near choked to death." Cross's room was on the third floor.
Firemen gave no estimate of damage, but observers said the hotel at 205 N. Adams St. was about to topple. The cause and source of the fire were not determined at once.
Some 45 firemen fought the blaze in 15-degree weather as snow flurried. Observers said the entire area and the fire-fighters were coated with ice.

Ironwood Daily Globe Michigan 1966-02-04