Chicago, IL Armour & Co Lard Refinery Fire, May 1907

Many Hurt In Chicago Fire at the Stock Yards.

Blazing Lard Refinery of Armour & Co. Attracts Spectators-Their Weight Crushing Viaduct.

Chicago, May 16.-The lard refinery of Armour & Co., situated at the corner of Forty-third Street and Centre Avenue, was destroyed by fire to-night, and during the fire a number of accidents occurred by which many people were injured. It is not known that any one was killed. Estimates as to the number of the injured are from five to twenty-five. The following are known to have been hurt:

Jennie Smith, stenographer of the German-American Provision Company, both legs broken; will probably die. Mrs. Morris Schwader, wife of the manager of the German-American Provision Company, cut about the head; Mabel Morse, Mrs. F.H. Frazer, Mrs. F.R. Gifford, Harry Jennings, James Duchachan, Mamie Roach.

The fire drew a great crowd to the stock-yards. There are several viaducts at a height of twenty feet from the ground, and upon these points of vantage the people gathered. One of the viaducts was densely crowded, when about 200 feet of it gave way, precipitating the spectators to the ground. The firemen instantly abandoned all efforts to save the refinery and devoted themselves to the work of rescue.

A call was sent for the nearest police ambulances. While the horses were being harnessed they ran away. The ambulance corps impressed another team and started for the fire, arriving half an hour late. Most of the injured had been carried to hospitals, and the more severely hurt placed in an improvised hospital in the plant of the German-American Provision Company.

The lard refinery was a new building erected during the last two months, and the building exclusive of the machinery it contained was valued at $150,000. It was of brick and five stories high. The fire started on the fifth floor from an explosion of some cats of lard. It spread rapidly throughout the building, despite the desperate efforts of the workmen to check its advance.

Secretary Langden of the Armour Company estimates the loss at least $500,000 on the buildings and from $250,000 to $400,000 on the contents.

The New York Times, New York, NY 17 May 1907