Baltimore, MD Residential Section Fire, Feb 1896
SEVEN LIVES LOST IN DISASTROUS FIRE IN BALTIMORE'S RESIDENTIAL SECTION.
ENTRAPPED BY THE FLAMES.
PROMINENT AND WEALTHY MERCHANTS AMONG THE DEAD.
WOMEN LEAPED FROM WINDOWS.
Baltimore, Feb. 23. -- White sheets spread out on the floor of the parlors in the house of Dr. K. B. Batchelor, at 1807 North Charles Street, hide from view the bodies of seven victims of an awful catastrophe.
At 8:15 o'clock this morning fire broke out in the basement of the house of JAMES ARMIGER, the prominent jeweler at 1806 North Charles Street. It started by the furnace and two flights of stairs furnished flues up which the flames swept with lightning like rapidity to the fourth floor., gutting the first, second and third floors as they went.
The dead are:
JAMES R. ARMINGER, aged fifty-five.
WILLIAM B. RILEY, his son-in-law, aged thirty-eight.
RICHARD RILEY, child, aged four.
MARIAN RILEY, child, aged two and a half.
JAMES CHAMPLIN, aged three.
MRS. MARIAN CHAMPLIN, aged thirty.
HAROLD MANUEL, aged fifty, capitalist, of Turner & Manuel, 35 Wall Street, New York.
The injured are:
MRS. JAMES ARMINGER, aged fifty; burned on the arm and shoulder.
ALICE J. WILLIAMS, twenty-two, colored servant, burned hand, cut eye and possibly fractured skull. Jumped from third-story window. May die. At City Hospital.
MARY C. WHITE, twenty, colored servant, suffocation; probably recover.
LUCY WATERS, colored, slightly injured.
ROSE JONES, colored, slightly injured.
Those who escaped injury are:
MISS VIRGINIA ARMINGER.
MISS ELENORA ARMINGER.
MRS. LETITIA RILEY.
Lou Whiting, colored servant, who lived next door, first discovered the fire in the basement. He dashed through the building arousing the inmates, who were still in their beds, but the sweep of the flames up the stairs shut off all possibility of escape in that direction. They dashed to the doors, but were driven back to their rooms by the blinding smoke.
The servants of the upper floors rushed to the lower floors, but could get no further than the second story, where they were driven into the sleeping rooms of the other inmates of the house, with the exception of the two maid servants who were in the kitchen at the time of the fire and escaped by the rear door.
A large crowd was before the burning building almost in a moment. Looking up at the windows they saw the occupants appear one after the other at their windows in their night clothes.
The fire department was soon on the scene and stretched a net beneath the windows, but the crowd yelled, "Don't jump." The frightened inmates held back.
Policeman Carlos and Crowe, in an attempt to rescue those whose lives were in danger smashed in the front door. It was a fatal mistake for it only gave the fire the draft it needed and it roared through the hallways and up the stairs with greater fierceness. They could not reach the imperiled people for the stairs were then a mass of flames and the smoke was blinding.
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