Skip to Content

Washington, DC Factory Fire, Sept 1894

MATTRESSES BURNED.

A FATAL FIRE IN WASHINGTON CITY.

FOUR ARE KNOWN TO BE LOST.

ONE IS DEAD AT THE HOSPITAL, THREE INJURED MEN ARE AT THE SAME PLACE, AND THERE MAY BE OTHER BURIED UNDER THE RUINS, AS SEVERAL OF THE WORKMEN ARE UNACCOUNTED FOR.

Washington, Sept. 18. -- The most fatal fire in recent years in Washington was the burning of the mattress factory of Stumph & Brothers yesterday. Four bodies are at the morgue, charred and crushed beyond recognition, one is dead at the hospital, three injured men are at the hospital, and there may be others buried under the ruins, as several of the workmen are unaccounted for.
Two of the dead at the morgue are now known to be W. H. TENNYSON, an old man employed in the factory, and WILLIAM ASHE, a boy of 18 years, and JAMES F. VAUGHN, a clerk, died at the hospital. Four others who are missing are HENRY FOWLER, PHILLIP ACKERMAN, ROBERT DEITZEL and an old man who had been employed in the factory but a few days and whose name is not remembered by his employer.
Those at the hospital are:
A. J. HASKE, both legs broken; may die.
ARTHUR C. BEVINS, internal injuries and fractured wrist.
HARRY BACON, internal injuries.
The factory, which is owned by Claude N. and Edward B. Stumph, stood at the intersection of Seventh and K Streets and Massachusetts Avenue, a 5-story structure, with thin brick walls, windows only at the back and front and no fire escapes. It was stored with feathers, shavings and other inflammable materials, and 25 persons were at work in it, six of whom were young women.
Fifteen minutes before noon fire was discovered in the picking room at the front of the second floor.
Almost before the alarm could be given to the workmen, it had spread through the second story and burst up the elevator shaft. The escape of those on the upper floors was cut off, they stood in the windows shouting for help, while hundreds on the streets, unable to give them assistance, yelled to them to wait for the hook and ladder. Three men were soon on the roof, two of them gesticulating frantically, while the other leaned calmly against a chimney waiting. Policeman Phil Brown found a ladder, and with the help of two stalwart men, dragged a mattress to the roof of a blacksmith shop beneath the eaves of the factory. While these preparations were under way, HASKE jumped from the roof, whirling over and over in the air and striking on his side. BEVINS jumped to the roof and was caught on the mattress, held by Policeman Brown and others. VAUGHN leaped headlong to that in the force of his fall he torn through the mattress as though it had been a blanket. BACON jumped from a third story window and landed on his stomach across a barrel 25 feet below. Other men clung to narrow projections outside the windows until a pile of mattresses had been heaped on the sidewalk and jumped off without sustaining severe injuries.
Twenty minutes after the fire had been discovered the east wall fell, crushing the blacksmith shop, Peters' oyster house and the Horse and Cattle Food company's building. A cloud of burning feathers rose 100 feet over the building and drifting down, set fire to several awnings in front of Seventh Street stores, making lively work for volunteer firemen with water pails. Shortly afterward the other walls tottered and came down crushing the 2-story brick building of the Woodruff Fileholder company, George J. Bennet's shop and Hall & Cammack's furniture store, a frame building. One fireman and several spectators were hurt by falling bricks.
The cause of the fire in unknown. The factory building was valued at $15,000 and its contents at $25,000.
Fifteen thousand dollars insurance was carried in several local companies.
The adjoining buildings which were crushed were of small value, so that $20,000 will probably cover the damage to them.

Hamilton Daily Democrat Ohio 1894-09-18



article | by Dr. Radut