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A large group of spectators were watching the blaze from Young's Pier when smoke and flames cut off their exit. Most escaped to the shore, but more than 50 were driven back toward the pier's end. These people were removed by boat. Several firemen, a police officer and a telephone man were injured while battling the flames.
At the height of the blaze the streets were filled with hotel guests fleeing with their belongings and hotel porters carrying fixtures and furniture to safety as firemen pulled hoses from one position to another. A number of thieves descended and "helped" move various items to safety before police and troops moved in to prevent looting.
Paul Hashagen, a Firehouse® contributing editor, is an FDNY firefighter assigned to Rescue Company 1 in Manhattan. He is also an ex-chief of the Freeport, NY, Fire Department. Hashagen is the author of FDNY 1865-2000: Millennium Book, a recently published history of the New York City Fire Department, and other fire service history books.