Nome, AK Golden Gate Hotel Fire, Jul 1903


Explosion in Hotel When Cook Pours Coal Oil on Kitchen Stove.

SEATTLE, Washington, July 20.---A dispatch dated Nome, July 10, says:

"Nearly a block of charred and blackened ruins mark the site of what was the Golden Gate Hotel and adjacent buildings. The fire broke out at 5 o'clock on Sunday morning, when nearly all the guests were in their beds. The second cook, F. R. Burr, apparently poured half a baking powder can of coal oil on the fire which was smoldering in the kitchen stove. There was an explosion, and Burr fled. Harvey Edgarton, the night clerk, turned in an alarm, and hurried down the corridor to awaken the guests.

"The hotel was a big three-story structure, a regular death trap, with no fire escapes or emergency exits, and it burned like a tinder box.

"R. M. Hayes, a wealthy contractor of Pittsburg, and his wife were on the third floor. It is thought that, on reaching the corridor and finding it a mass of flames, they returned to their rooms. They were suffocated. Their bodies have been recovered, as has also the body of Sherman D. Gregg of Freeport, Penn.

"Daggett & Harris, proprietors of the hotel, estimate their loss at $50,000. Various warehouses in the neighborhood were badly damaged, and the losses, with those of the guests, make the total loss nearly $100,000. The cook, Burr, has been held for manslaughter, as a result of the Coroner's inquest."

The New York Times, New York, NY 21 Jul 1903