Washington, DC Academy Of Music Fire, Jan 1907

Washington DC Academy Theatre Fire 1907.jpg

FIRE WRECKS THEATER.

ACADEMY OF MUSIC LAID WASTE BY EARLY MORNING BLAZE.

POLICE RESCUE OCCUPANTS.

FLAMES OF UNKNOWN ORIGIN GUT AUDITORIUM AND STAGE, COMPLETELY DESTROYING OUTFIT OF "SECRETS OF POLICE" COMPANY, PLAYING WEEK'S ENGAGEMENT -- FIREMEN HAVE NARROW ESCAPE.

One of the largest fires which Washington has known for years wrecked the entire auditorium and stage of the Academy of Music, Ninth and D Streets northwest, and threatened the destruction of the adjoining properties at an early hour yesterday morning, causing damage of a conservative estimate of which reaches $75,000.
When the fire was at its height a general alarm had been turned in. It became known that there were persons in the burning structure, and Sergt. Lohman and Policeman B. H. Johnson fought their way to the sleeping apartments occupied by Prof. LEON P. W. STIEHL, proprietor of the Spencerian Business College; MRS. LULU STIEHL, his wife, and Prof STIEHL'S father.
The sleepers were awakened and taken from the smoke-filled building unharmed.
The flames originated in the fly gallery above the stage, and when discovered by Special Officer William Young, the entire scenery was aflame.
Young turned in an alarm from box 129, at Ninth and D Streets northwest, at 4:55 a.m. A second alarm, turned in by the police, brought Deputy Fire Chief Wagner to the scene, and he turned in a general alarm. Within a brief time many streams of water were directed against the flames.
For half an hour the fireman fought stubbornly, making but little headway. Inside the building, Deputy Fire Chief Wagner directed his men in their efforts to extinguish the burning files while the work of rescue was going on outside.
The flames mounted rapidly to the roof, eating their way through, and, warned by the cracking of the timbers the firemen were enabled barely to escape the burning mass of debris which fell from above when the roof collapsed.
At that time there was no certainty that the walls would remain intact, but the fire companies stood their ground, effectively fighting the flames with the water tower and the hose lines from the tops of ladders of the trucks. Every precaution was taken to avoid risking the lives of the firemen.
After two hours the flames were under control, but until noon yesterday the fire companies continued to throw streams on the smoldering mass, to make doubly sure the fire was extinguished.
After the flames had died away, Deputy Chief Wagner and Fire Marshal Nicholson made an exhaustive investigation, but without determining the cause of the fire.
In answering the fifth alarm, the hose carriage of Engine No. 20, of Tennallytown, while turning the corner at Thirty-fifth and O streets northwest, collided with a car of the Washington Railway and Electric Company, killing the horses. The driver escaped without injury.
The Academy of Music is owned by the Lincoln Hall Association, in which more than 100 Washingtonians are represented. The total insurance carried by the corporation is $70,000, held in about twenty companies, the most of which are outsiders.
A. J. Pollock, manager of the "Secrets of Police" company, which opened a week's engagement at the Academy last Monday night, says all the properties of his show were lost. The properties were not covered by insurance.
George D. Horning, whose loan office is on the first floor of the building, did not suffer any material loss, but liquors to the value of between $2,000 and $2,500 were lost in the cellar of Louis Hodges, a saloonkeeper adjoining.
The furniture of the Wesleyah Pentecostal Church, on the second floor, was slightly damaged by the water. The Spencerian Business College also suffered some loss, but will reopen in a few days.

The Washington Post District of Columbia 1907-01-25