Providence, RI Phoenix Block Fire, Jul 1894


Many Accidents and a Loss of $100,00 on the Phoenix Block.

PROVIDENCE, R. I., July 7.---The Phoenix Block, a five-story business structure, on Lower Westminster Street, was burned out this morning.

William Ellsbree, a wholesale milliner, and Watchman Benjamin Peck, the latter aged seventy-five, rushed to the top of the building, and an explosion of some material unknown burned Peck so badly that he will die. The east wall fell and crushed in the roof of the next building, occupied by John McManus, clothing and furnishings. The falling wall broke an extension ladder on which was Frank Tabor of Hook and Ladder No. 8. Tabor fell forty feet, broke an arm, and possibly his back.

Thomas McNeill, foreman of the Sevens Fire Company, was knocked senseless by falling bricks and fell from a ladder. He is badly injured. Thomas Nichols, also of the Sevens, had his face and nose broken by a fall.

The concerns burned out are: On the Westminster Street front-Besse, Middlebrook & Co., clothing; San Soucis, Boston Shoe Store; Hermann Ockel, watches and jewelry; Harner & Herbert, hair goods; Buck Brothers, brokers; Gately & Gorman, installment goods; Marion Printing Company, Ellsbree & Co., wholesale millinery; C. S. Horton, wholesale millinery; Cobb & Browning, wholesale millinery; John O'Conner, real estate.

On the Exchange Place front---A. P. Possner, groceries and varieties; A. J. Sanborns's Son, leather and findings, and the storerooms for the wholesale millinery concerns. Companies B. F. and H. of the Second Regiment, State Militia, occupied the fourth floor as an armory. Two hundred rifles and 100 uniforms were ruined.

The building is owned by Jesse Howard, with loss of $40,000, fully insured. The loss to the occupants is upward of $60,000, about all being well covered by insurance. John McManus, in the adjoining building, was damaged $10,000; fully insured.

Herman Fisher of Steamer Company No. 2 was caught by falling walls and pinned in for a time. He is severely injured.

The New York Times, New York, NY 4 Jul 1894