Rekindles: May 1998

If there was a significant fire or emergency that occurred 100 years ago in your department, or your department's 100th anniversary is coming up, please drop us a line for possible inclusion in "Rekindles" in an upcoming issue. May 2, 1898: JERSEY...


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If there was a significant fire or emergency that occurred 100 years ago in your department, or your department's 100th anniversary is coming up, please drop us a line for possible inclusion in "Rekindles" in an upcoming issue.

May 2, 1898: JERSEY CITY, NJ - Fire broke out in a boarding house at 100 Grand St., trapping a 16-month-old girl and her nurse. Many of the guests of the boarding house were members of a troupe of actors performing nearby. Arriving firemen were advised of the trapped occupants and dashed into the blazing structure. The woman and the child were rescued but the child died from her injuries.

May 3, 1898: NEW YORK CITY - An early-afternoon fire on West 10th Street attracted a large crowd as firemen arrived and began their work. In the street Fireman J.J. Crawford of Engine Company 24 was helping to stretch a hoseline when on the third floor a man began to climb out of a smoke-filled window. With no truck company on the scene, Crawford dashed up the stairs and entered the smoke-filled apartment. Crawling along the floor, he came upon the 265-pound man just as he began to leap from the window. The fireman grabbed the victim and was almost pulled out the window with him but managed to hold him fast, then pull him back into the window to the delight of the cheering crowd below.

May 6, 1898: CLEVELAND - A six-story shoe factory on the corner of Bank and Lake streets was gutted by fire. Firemen slowed the advancing flames and controlled the fire before it spread to other buildings.

May 6, 1898: CINCINNATI - Firemen were at a serious disadvantage as flames raced through the top floors of a seven-story building. Struggling to get their hoses in position, the firemen were fighting a losing battle as the fire spread from one shoe company to another. Damage was more than $120,000.

May 8, 1898: CHICAGO - An emotionally disturbed man set fire to his apartment on Westlake Street after arguing with his wife. The dense smoke sent his neighbors fleeing as arriving firemen made quick work of the fire. The man was arrested at the scene by police.

May 8, 1898: DULUTH, MN - Fifty frame buildings on Minnesota Point, just above the ship canal, were destroyed by an afternoon fire. The district was populated by some of the city's poorest families. An hour after the blaze began, 2,000 people were homeless.

May 11, 1898: PHILADELPHIA - Three people were killed as a fire swept through the big six-story building on Market Street that housed the McCadden Brothers wholesale dealers in toys and fireworks. The fire was started in the cellar by exploding fireworks and spread quickly. Fire companies were faced with extending fire and fireworks rocketing out windows and doors. The flames spread to two other buildings but firemen were able to save both structures.

May 11, 1898: BALLARDVILLE, MA - A large three-story wool warehouse filled with flames just after noon in a fire accidentally started by roof repairmen. The Andover Fire Department responded on mutual aid but the fire extended to three buildings before it could be brought under control.

May 12, 1898: CHICAGO - A spontaneous-combustion fire destroyed more than 1 million bushels of grain and the elevator housing it. The flames spread from the Armour Elevator to a nearby lumber yard at 22nd and Morgan streets. The hard work of the firemen and a favorable wind kept the fire from extending to the vast lumber piles stored nearby.

May 18, 1898: ATTLEBORO, MA - An early-morning fire burned through 19 jewelry firms on Mill Street and threatened the entire business section before the flames could be brought under control. The total losses were estimated at $1 million.

May 20, 1898: TOLEDO, OH - Firemen battled a blaze in a wholesale grocery company and managed to prevent flames from extending to The Toledo Blade Publishing Co. next door. Losses were $350,000.

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