San Francisco, CA St. George Hotel Fire, Apr 1909

FIND BODIES IN THE RUINS

SAN FRANCISCO LODGING HOUSE BURNS IN THE NIGHT.

FIVE KNOWN TO BE KILLED

Building of Frame Construction, and Spread of Flames So Rapid That Inmates Are Handicapped.

SAN FRANCISCO, April 17 – Five bodies recovered and probably eight or ten others buried in the ruins; six injured, one fatally, and a property loss of $125,000 are the results of an early morning fire which destroyed the St. George hotel, a lodging house for laborers at Howard and Eighth streets, and eight other small buildings. The bodies taken to the morgue were so charred that identification was impossible.

D. S. Cartwright, a carpenter, formerly of Salem, Ore., was fatally burned.

The hotel was a large three story frame building and burned so rapidly that none of the 180 guests had tome to dress, and many escaped by jumping to the roof of an adjoining workshop. Scored clambered down the ladders of the firemen and the fire escapes, and at least four jumped to safety into the net held by the fire fighters.

When the fire was discovered shortly after 3 o’clock Night Clerk Arthur Gronhk, three or four other employees, and Policeman W F Kruger ran through the house arousing the sleeping tenants. In the smoke-filled halls they directed the half-crazed men to the exits. Great confusion and panic prevailed, so that it was with great difficulty that men were able to find their way through the labyrinth of halls which threaded the 400 small rooms.

Firemen and policemen worked heroically, and but for their efforts the loss of life would have been much greater.

Before the ruins had cooled, firemen began the search for bodies. Within two hours five charred bodies had been found and only a small portion of the burned area had been explored.

Later another body was recovered, bringing the total number of known dead up to six One body had been partially identified as that of C. H. Johnson, of San Antonio, Tex

Two hundred people were in the hotel when the fire broke out. One hundred and thirty-seven of these were regular boarders and the rest transients.

The only body which it has been possible to identify is believed to be that of C. H. Johnson of San Antonio, Tex Thirty-eight guests of the hotel are still unaccounted for, among them Herman Muer, a cigarmaker of Rochester, N Y The proprietor of the hotel, J. W. Shananhan, had been in trouble with the board of public works since the building was erected shortly after the great fire. On December 13, 1906, he was arrested, charges with violating the building law, but was dismissed on promising to make altercations.

Fire Chief Shaughnessey said tonight there are numerous unsafe lodging houses in the city which he proposes to close.

The Nebraska State Journal, Lincoln, NE 17 Apr 1909

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GUESTS OF LODGING

House Thrown Into Panic by Fire and Twenty Are Missing.

MANY RECEIVED MINOR INJURIES

In Frantic Efforts to Escape. Building Was Burned Down.

San Francisco, April 16. – Three hundred guests of the St. George hotel, a lodging house in Howard street, between Eighth and Ninth streets, were thrown into a panic by a fire which completely destroyed the building, a three story frame structure, shortly after 3 o’clock this morning. While it is not known that any lives were lost, it was reported by the clerk that at least twenty of the guests could not be accounted for. Six men were severely burned, one probably fatally, and many received minor injuries by leaping from the upper stories or by being trampled in the rush to escape. The seriously injured were hurried to the Central emergency hospital for treatment, and the other few of whom saved their clothing, were housed in nearby lodgings.

Corporal Fontaina and Policeman Judger discovered the fire and dragged many of the guests from their beds. There were scored of narrow escapes. The building burned rapidly and within an hour was a ruin.

Those most seriously injured were: ____ Cartwright, Salem, Oregon, probably fatally burned; Patrick Guerin, John Neil, John Erison, John Potts, John Main.

Most of the guests were laboring men.

Lima Times Democrat, Lima, OH 16 Apr 1909

Comments

Fifteen Dead in Hotel Fire

FIFTEEN DEAD IN HOTEL FIRE.

Many Inmates of San Francisco Lodging House Escaped Down Ladders.

SAN FRANCISCO, April 16.---Five bodies recovered and probably eight or ten others buried in the ruins, six injured, on fatally, property lost $125,000---these are the results of a fire to-day that destroyed the St. George Hotel, a lodging house for laborers at Howard and Eighth Streets. Eight other small buildings were burned. The bodies taken to the morgue were so charred that identification was impossible.

The hotel was a three-story frame building. It burned so rapidly that none of the 180 guests had time to dress. many escaped by jumping to the roof of an adjoining workshop. Scores clambered down the firemen's ladders and the fire-escapes on the building. Four jumped to safety in a net held by the fire fighters.

The New York Times, New York, NY 17 Apr 1909