New York, NY New York Harbor Fire, Mar 1902
HARBOR ABLAZE AND CITY FRONT MENACED
Fire Fighters Struggle to Save Craft and Piers
Rich Cargoes in Danger Wharves and Ferry-boats Burst Into Flame Panic Among Passengers Caught Aboard.
Down the North River, forced onward by wind and tide, came the wrecked steamship "British Queen" and four smaller craft, all ablaze. The New York shore was in danger.
Toward this side of the river drifted the burning boats, and the Fire Department had one of the tasks of its history on its hands. Before midnight, two piers on this shore of the river had been touched by the flames. Another had been scorched and barely saved.
Eight fire companies from the lower part of the city had worked as they scarcely ever worked before. Fire
Chief Croker had made West Street, along the river- front, echo with one of the most exciting races of his career. The sleeping longshoremen, tugboatmen. steamship watchmen, riff-raff of the piers and
nighthawks of the shore-line had seen one of the most spectacular sights of years, the most dramatic with the exception of the great Hoboken fire of the Summer of 1900.
After the steamship "British Queen," two barges and two lighters had begun to drift from the Hoboken docks toward the Manhattan shore the word was sent out to the fire companies of the down-town districts.
The Chief received the alarm in his night headquarters in Great Jones Street and jumped into his automobile with his driver. He swung into West Street a little to the north of Chambers, and heard a
man shout from the sidewalk: "The Providence Line's afire!"
FIRST PIER ENDANGERED
The pier of the line is at the foot of Park Place. A lighter, one of the two that had come from Hoboken, had drifted with the wind against the farthest bulkhead, and a pile of cotton on the end of the dock
was ablaze. Already someone had sent in an alarm from West Street and a company of firemen, with the engines and trucks, had rushed to the scene. A pile of cotton on the river end of the pier was beginning to send up light streams of smoke.
From the floor of the dock, singed and about to burst into flame, another thin streamer of vapor rose and was driven landward in the breeze. Chief Croker threw himself from his automobile and was on the scene in less time than it takes to tell it. In less than five
minutes, the fireboat "Zophar Mills," acting under orders from him, had pulled away the lighter, and a dozen streams of water were pouring upon the burning cotton from hoses brought on the pier by the land forces.
March 19, 1902 edition of The New York Times