Hartford, CT Park Central Hotel Collapse and Fire, Feb 1889

It is feared that Toney Ettinger, wife, and child of the "Hoodman Blind" company are in the ruins. The company is at the Opera House in this city to-night, and the members spent most of the day in trying to find Ettinger, but without success.

The search for the dead and wounded was witnessed by thousands of persons through the day. In the morning the First Regiment was ordered under arms by Gov. Bulkeley, Col. William E. Cone in command, for the purpose of aiding the police in keeping the throngs back from the ruins. Porter Whiton had charge of the main rescuing party, and the most pathetic scenes were brought to light as the mass of ruins was reduced. The first man brought out alive was Harry Stiffel of Philadelphia. He was hurried to Dr. Smith's office and given stimulants. For four hours he was pinioned under the timbers in his room, his shoulders being well nigh crushed by the weight. He kept a cool head and directed the workmen how to labor to the best advantage. Stiffel has been in three railroad disasters, but never before had so harrowing an experiences as to-day's.

The work of rescuing Michael Corrigan and his wife was a hazardous one. The walls of the hotel remaining were overhanging the men, and it required great courage to work near it. Dr. T. H. Ingalls stood by the despairing couple till they were safely extricated from the tons of debris that had fallen over them. The woman was unconscious, as her bleeding body was dragged by main force into the open air. The rain was pouring in torrent at the time. Half an hour afterward her husband was released from the spot where the broken timber and brick had held him. Both were removed to the hospital. Their limbs are crushed, and the woman received internal injuries.

Walter M. Gay of New-York was in the ruins until midday. He was self-possessed through the terrible hours that intervened between the explosion and his rescue, not losing consciousness for a moment. In the room underneath were Mr. Ketchum and his wife. Mr. Gay could hear them talk, and gave the first assurances that they were alive. As he was restored to his friends, "Oh, I am all right," he said; "I don't know but I could stay and help dig for Ketchum now. The smoke did not bother me much: the water was the worst. I tried to piek a hole in the mattress to let it out. I think Mr. Ketchum was worse off than I was."

Mr. Gay's words furnished a stimulus to the diggers, whose almost superhuman efforts were rewarded half and hour later by the rescue of Mr. and Mrs. Ketchum. For more than nine hours they had been buried under the walls of the building. The bodies of Hill and Haussman were next brought out and and removed to the [ineligible] room which had been extemporized in the Judd & Root building across the way from the ruins.

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