Chicago, IL Donohue & Henneberry Building Fire, Jan 1893

Injured on Duty
Eight Firemen Badly Hurt in a Fire at Chicago
They Receive Their Injuries By An Explosion of Natural Gas in the Burning Building
Chief Swenie One of the Victims

Chicago, Jan. 5.--Donohue & Henneberry’s immense building and printing establishment, 407-425 Dearborn street, was the scene of a fire about 3 o’clock p.m. which necessitated a general alarm. The building in which the firm does business is a big eight-story structure supposed to be fireproof and supplied with all the modern appliances for fighting fire, such as fire plugs, mercurial alarms, extinguishers, etc. The main floors are occupied as warerooms for a number of firms who sell printing presses, printers’ and binders’ tools, printing inks, type and other necessaries of the printing trades, while some twenty or twenty-five job printing firms find quarters in the brick building.

Many Badly Hurt

Soon after the breaking out of the fire there was a muffled explosion of gas in the basement and eight firemen who were near were badly burned. The names of the eight injured men are as follows: Chief DENIS J. SWENIE, Lieut. MURPHY, TOM NEVINS, AUGUST GONNET, THOMAS NOLAN, Lieut. LANE, of insurance patrol no. 1; THOMAS GALLAGHER, truck no. 9; JOHN SHEEHAN. None of them was badly burned, but all of them suffered severely, They were taken to the drug store at the corner, where their wounds were dresses, after which they were removed to their homes.

Force of the Explosions

There were four explosions, and such was the force of them that the glass in the entire eight stories in the building was smashed to smithereens. The shock of the explosion was such that the entire building was shaken to its foundation. Several hundred bindery girls working the upper stories were thrown into a panic, and only succeeded in getting out of the building after much difficulty. None of them was injured, but all were badly scared. Many were carried out in an almost fainting condition and the excitement for while was intense. The fire was kept under control, however, and did not spread rapidly. The loss will not exceed $5,000.

Caused by Natural Gas

It seems that an explosion caused the fire, and it is claimed that this explosion was of natural gas from the Economic Gas company’s mains, the product of which company’s gas was used throughout the building.

The Daily Citizen, Iowa City, IA 5 Jan 1893