Philadelphia, PA Tobacco Company Panic, Apr 1902
In their eagerness to escape the frightened leaders fell. Others immediately following tripped over the struggling mass of humanity and in less than a minute there were hundreds of children and young women struggling in the passageway. The shrieks and screams of the terror-stricken girls could be heard for a block or more.
During the excitement an alarm of fire was turned in, but before the engines could reach the scene several of the occupants of the building had rushed to the windows and jumped to the street, a distance of over fifty feet. HELEN TOLINI, one of those to jump, was instantly killed. When the firemen and policemen arrived every effort was made to quiet the terrorized girls. The firemen rushed up the stairway and begged the girls to be calm, telling them that there was absolutely no danger, but the sight of the firemen seemed only to add fuel to the flames. While the policemen and firemen were endeavoring to quiet the girls on the stairway ladders were run up on the outside of the building and the employes who had climbed out onto the fire escapes and window ledges were quickly taken to the street.
After a few minutes the men were enabled to check the awful crush on the stairway and then began the work of rescuing those who had been trampled and crushed between the second and third floors. The alarm for ambulances had been turned in and as quick as the dead and injured could be carried from the building they were hurried to hospitals. The number of ambulances were entirely inadequate and patrol wagons were brought into use to carry the victims away for treatment.
The scene about the structure was heartrending. The building is located in a section largely inhabited by Hebrews, many of whom were caught in the terrible crash. Parents and relatives of the unfortunate girls were screaming and rushing about the streets like mad, and it was almost impossible for the police officials to restrain the mothers and relatives of supposed victims from entering the building. The work of rescuing the girls from the windows was necessarily tedious. They were so excited that they did not seem to understand the pleadings of the firemen. At nearly every window of the structure were girls screaming and crying for help. Many were so excited that it was with the greatest difficulty that they were prevented from jumping from the building, notwithstanding that there was not a sign of fire and their rescue seemed only the work of a few moments.
Houston Daily Post Texas 1902-05-01