Baltimore, MD Residential Section Fire, Feb 1896
Too late. The terrorized woman drew half back in the window, and with an awful shriek, launched herself out in the air.
Down, down she shot. Her body turned over several times in that awful flight. "Crash." Her head struck the second stone step, her body turned a complete somersault, and her head struck a second time on the last step, while her body rebounded to the pavement.
For a moment the spectators were transfixed with horror. Then a man rushed forward, followed by a score. The woman was moaning pitifully, her hands clinched and unclinched in agony. She was carried to the residence of Dr. Batchelor, and from there in the Second district ambulance to the City Hospital. She will die.
The other colored servant, MARY WHITE, who was rescued, was nearly suffocated, but the doctors at the hospital say she will probably live.
Louis Whiting, the colored servant, did a noble deed. With Officers Carlos and Crowe he got into the house. The flames were pouring out of the pantry, and up the stairway from the cellar. All the men dropped on their knees, and with noses close to the floor, worked their way to the stairs which led to the second floor.
Whiting pushed his way up the stairs through the smoke and entered the front bedroom.
He met MRS. ARMIGER at the landing and rushed into the bedroom. MRS. ARMIGER was in her nightdress. The smoke blinded the man but he forced his way to the poor woman, who was wringing her hands in her agony.
"Don't mind me," she shouted. "Save MR. ARMIGER. I can get out of the window."
By this time the smoke was so dense and the heat so great that the paper on the ceilings had begun to crack.
Whiting opened the window nearest Union Station and MRS. ARMIGER got out on the balcony. The crowd below sent her encouraging words, but she paid little heed to them.
Whiting flanked on all sides by the fire, opened the window next to North Avenue and got out on the balcony. The flames by this time had licked up the hangings in the room and were approaching the windows.
"Hold on, madam," shouted Whiting, "the firemen will save you."
MRS. ARMIGER was undecided and appeared about to jump. "Reach your hand to me," shouted Whiting, and he clung with one hand to the balcony while he tried to get MRS. ARMIGER to come over to his side where there was more room.
Before she had an opportunity to move the ladder was up and she was saved.
The scene in the parlors of Dr. K. B. Batchelor's residence, 1807 North Charles Street, where the charred and bruised bodies were carried, was harrowing. Even the undertakers and their assistants, used to scenes of death, turned away at times half sickened. MR. ARMIGER was burned to a char around the upper part of his body.
The white hair around his venerable head was matted and clotted with blood and cinders. His face and forehead was so badly burned that the ends of his hair were clotted in the flesh. His face, although terribly blackened, was easily recognizable and old friends turned away sick at heart after gazing at him.
MR. RILEY died from burns and suffocation. He was a rather stout and muscular man. The burns were chiefly about his face, neck and shoulders.
MR. MANUEL was also terribly burned and his horribly scarred face and body was twisted to one side as though he had died only after making a supreme effort for life.
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