Chicago, IL Hotel Somerset Fire, Jan 1903

FOUR DEAD AND FOUR INJURED IN HORROR AT CHICAGO.

THREE OF THE DEAD WOMEN SUFFOCATED WHILE IN BED, AND THE FOURTH VICTIM LEAPED TO DEATH -- CIGARETTE CAUSED FIRE.

Chicago, January 6 -- Four persons lost their lives and as many persons were injured in a fire at the Hotel Somerset an eight story brick structure at Wabash Avenue and Twelfth Street early today.
Three of the victims MRS. E. T. PERRY, aged 35, and her two daughters, aged 8 and 9 years old respectively were burned or suffocated to death in their room on the fourth floor. The fourth victim, MRS. ETHEL SAUNDERS, of 2536 Indiana Avenue, jumped from the window of a room on the same floor to the street, and died on her way to the hospital.
The injured are:
T. W. PARKER, internally injured.
EMILE SANCHEZ, cut by broken glass.
C. S. WRIGHTMAN, badly cut about the face and hands.
WILLIAM PEARS, elevator boy, affected by smoke and cut by flying glass.
MR. PARKER, jumped from the window of a room on the fourth floor to the roof of a two-story building adjoining the hotel. He sustained a broken ankle and severe bruises. A short time after it was discovered that lives had been lost, William Clemons, a porter was arrested. The police explained, that from what could be learned from panic stricken guests the fire orignated mysteriously. Clemons was caught it is said at the time and the police will hold him until the fire has been investigated. There were about one hundred guests in the hotel at the time. From admissions made by Clemons, it is believed he caused the fire by accidentally igniting his bed clothes while smoking a cigarette. It is thought MRS. PERRY first became aware of the fire and aroused her daughters. Later however it appears that they all became quickly overcome, both the girls having been found on their beds while the body of MRS. PERRY lay on the floor near the window.
The elevator conductor ran his car to the top floor shouting a warning and carrying many of the guests from the building. The financial loss was not large.
Although the woman and her daughters who perished in the fire were registered at and known about the hotel under the name of PERRY, Edward Saunders a coachman employed on the southside declared them to be his wife and daughters and gave the names of the children as RITA and MARGORIE. It is believed however, that Saunders was known in Toronto as PERRY and assumed the former name when he came to Chicago. The young woman who died in the ambulance and who was partially identified as ETHEL SAUNDERS is now believed to be another daughter of MRS. PERRY.

Atlanta Constitution Georgia 1903-01-07