Jacksonville, FL Hotel Roosevelt Fire, Dec 1963
He said he was not at the moment concerned about damage and had no accurate estimate. There is insurance, he said, but that he didn't know the extent of coverage.
A woman who plunged to death when an improvised rope of sheets and blankets broke was identified as MRS. MARIAN F. CURRY, 43, of Santiago, Chile, and formerly of Greensboro, N. C. A medical examiner said she died of multiple fractures.
Chief Fire Marshal E. C. McDermon said asphyxiation cause most of the deaths. He said evidence indicated the blaze began in or near the Emerald Room, a few steps up from the main lobby. The cause was undetermined.
Flames were confined to below the third floor. Most of the dead were on the upper floors where deadly smoke accumulated after rising through the building.
Many of the 479 transient and 20 permanent guests were in night clothing or only partly dressed when the fire was first reported at 7:45 a. m.
Hotel doorman Alton Joseph Crowden said he was in the lobby when "suddenly smoke poured out from everywhere." He called the fire department.
Trapped guests leaned from windows to escape the smoke and pleaded for rescue. Some fell back or across window sills, unconscious.
Police bellowed instructions from the street via megaphone for the trapped to remain calm and stay behind closed doors to await rescue.
Those first led or carried to safety gathered in shock across the street and looked on helplessly at those still facing death.
Most guests had been evacuated by the time the fire was under control at 9:30 a. m.
The News Tribune Fort Pierce Florida 1963-12-30