Chicago, IL Wabash Avenue Fire, Mar 1898





Chicago, March 16. -- It required just twenty minutes today for one of the most savage fires Chicago has seen since the famous cold storage warehouse fire on the World's fair grounds in 1893 to take anywhere from five to fifteen lives, maim thirty people and reduce a six story brick building to a pile of blazing timber, red hot bricks and twisted iron.
The number of dead is still in doubt and will probably not be definitely known until the debris of the building is sufficiently cooled to admit of search being made for bodies of those who are undoubtedly in the ruins. This will be two days hence at least.
Three men are known to be dead. They are:
SAMUEL A. CLARK, bookkeeper for Olmstead Scientific company.
MILES A. SMITH, salesman, Olmstead Scientific company.
EDWARD BINZ, cashier for Sweet, Wallach & Co.
The missing of whom nothing could be learned at a late hour tonight and most of whom are without question buried in the ruins are:
W. A. OLMSTEAD, president Olmstead Scientific company, rushed through sixth floor notifying his employes of their peril, seen to go towards rear of building, not seen to live.
C. H. ARMS, secretary Olmstead company, was in building when fire started, not since seen alive.
MRS. M. S. HARRIS, widow, 42 years old, employed as bookkeeper for Olmstead, believed to have been overcome by smoke and burned to death.
Unknown Woman, seen at window of sixth floor shortly after MILES SMITH leaped to his death and was not seen afterward. Thought to have been buried in the ruins.
C. T. ANDERSON, employed by Sweet, Wallich & Co., not seen alive in the building after the fire started and thought to have been suffocated.
TONY, last name unknown, office boy for Sweet, Wallich & Co., jumped from sixth floor in rear and it is thought he fell into the ruins.
FRED HAMIL, vaudeville singer, employed by National Music company, not seen since the fire.
C. A. PRICE, cashier Olmstead company, thought to have been suffocated.
SOLOMON GROLLMAN, JR., was thought to have bee overcome and then burned to death.
SOLOMON GROLLMAN, SR., with GROLLMAN, JR., thought to have met his son's fate.
ANNA GUEST, cashier for National Music company, thought to have been overcome by smoke while trying to escape from burning building.
H. R. NELSON, worked for Olmstead company, seen with SAMUEL A. CLARK, who was killed, and thought to have been burned to death.
WILLIAM MARVIN, shipping clerk for Presbyterian Board Publication, not home and thought to have lost his life.
WILLIAM BOSS, errand boy for Presbyterian Board, thought to have perished.
W. J. WILCOX, partner W. A. OLMSTEAD, being on sixth floor when fire started thought to have gone down in the ruins.
HATTIE DAVIDSON, employed in manufacturing department of Olmstead company. Friends reported late tonight that she was missing -- probably dead.
The injured:
PAUL C. SNYDER, employed by Sweet, Wallach & Co., severely burned about head, may die.
EMIL BRESSERMAN, dropped from third floor to street, hip and spine injured, may die.
A. E. McCULLOUGH, jumped from third floor, hip and shoulder broken and internal injuries, may die.
MARY LAPERE, burned about face and head, fell from second floor to ground and sustained internal injuries, may die.
HUGH S. ELLIOTT, manager Presbyterian Board Publication, hands and face burned, not serious.
HERMAN B. OVERMAN, fell from fire escape, badly bruised.
H. D. CUNNINGHAM, agent for Northern Pacific Express company, head and body burned.
W. S. LEMLEY, colored, jumped from second floor, right leg broken.
Officer JOSEPH ROGERS, overcome by smoke while rescuing people from burning building.
Professor HANS LINE, National Music company, face and hands burned while helping employes reach fire escape.
E. A. WISE, legs and hands severely burned.
PHILIP FARLEY, right leg broken, jumped from second story window.
W. H. MURPHY, engineer, face and shoulders burned.
JOSIE BAXA, right ankle broken, jumped from second story window.
ANNA BAXA, jumped from second story window and severely bruised.
DAVID SCHAEFER, arm broken trying to catch A. E. McCULLOUGH, who jumped from third floor.
ANDREW NYSTROM, face and hands burned.
A. J. NYSTROM, face, hands and legs burned.
FRED SMITH, face and neck cut by falling glass and head bruised by falling brick.
JACOB KERCHIN, letter carrier, jumped from second story, back injured and ankle sprained.
JOHN McDERMOTT, jumped from second floor and dislocated his shoulder.
JAMES W. WALL, pipeman, head and back injured by bricks from falling wall.
KATE CARNEY, foreman for music company, face and head burned.