New York City, NY Fire In Loft Building, Feb 1958


New York (AP) -- Two firemen died last night in a roaring blaze which gutted and collapsed a six-story loft building. Four other men trapped in the smouldering ruins were feared dead early today.
Rescuers dug frantically during the early morning hours for some trace of the four men, who were at the third story level when the floor caved in.
Ten firemen were injured -- but not seriously -- battling the blaze in a paper and twine factory located at 137 Wooster Street in downtown Manhattan.
The five-alarm blaze raged for several hours before it was brought under control.
Dug out of the debris last night were firemen BERNARD BLUMENTHAL of Brooklyn, a husband of three weeks, and WILLIAM G. SCHMITT of Staten Island. SCHMITT already was dead and BLUMENTHAL died at a hospital.
Seven workers in the building when the fire was discovered escaped unharmed.
The missing men were members of the New York Board of Fire Underwriters. Their job at a fire is to minimize smoke and water damage.
They were identified as JAMES DEVINE of Brooklyn, married and the father of two children; MICHAEL TRACY of Woodhaven, Queens, married three months; LOUIS BRUSATI of Brooklyn, married ant the father of two children; and MICHAEL McGEE of Brooklyn, also married and the father of two.
Fire Commissioner Edward F. Cavanaugh, Jr., said a hundred men would work at the scene around the clock to find the missing men.
After the fire started there was an explosion. A fire official said the fire started on the fifth floor possibly by a careless smoker.

Chester Times Pennsylvania 1958-02-15