Chicago, IL Pop Factory Fire, May 1891

They May Be Firebugs.

Another Story of How Sigel and Glickman Were Burned Wednesday Night.

Unless Simon Sigel and David Glickman, the two men who were burned in so mysterious a manner last Wednesday night, are able to satisfactorily explain how they received their injuries and account for their whereabouts at 11:20 o’clock on that night, they will probably be put under arrest at the Michael Reese Hospital today. The two men have told so many stories of how they came by their injuries that even the police are inclined to abandon the theory that they were burned by enemies seeking revenge. The police now believe that the men were burned while engaged in some crooked enterprise. The story they told last was that while guests at a wedding feast at Harris Nitzberg’s house, at 257 Maxwell Street, Glickman was called out of the house under some pretext and some unknown men pulled a bag over his head, poured kerosene on the bag and then set it on fire, and that Sigel was burned in tearing the bag from Glickman’s head. Glickman said some men he had worsted in a horse trade were the perpetrators of the outrage. Yesterday another story was set afloat to the effect that Glickman was assisting detectives in unearthing a conspiracy to defraud the Aetna Life Insurance Company. Eighteen months ago Simeon Schimschelwitz, who claimed to be a Russian grain merchant, took out a $3000 policy on his life in favor of one Norton, who several months later claimed that Schimschelewitz had been drowned in Russia and produced affidavits to that effect. But the company refused to pay, and the matter is now in the courts. Ira J. Mason, the Chicago agent of the company, says that Glickman and Sigel were taking no part in the case, so far as he knew. While the police were looking for the alleged perpetrators of the assault on Glickman and Sigel, Inspector Conway, of the fire department, was conducting an investigation in another direction. At 11:18 o’clock last Wednesday night the soda factory of Honneberg & Samson at 31 Canalport Avenue was discovered to be on fire. Insurance for $3,000 had been placed on the contents. The size of the policies excited suspicion, and when Inspector Conway heard of the mysterious accident to Glickman & Sigel he figured out a little conclusion on which he is now acting. The owners of the pop factory belong to the colony in which Glickman and Sigel are shining lights. So far the police have not been able to establish beyond doubt that Glickman and Sigel were at the wedding feast which they claimed to have attended, and attempts to secure information from the other guests have not succeeded to any extent. Sergeant Kennedy said last night “Our men are still at work. We are pretty nearly convinced that Glickman & Sigel were not assaulted at all, and that their injuries were received in the Canalport avenue district.” Which is in keeping with the theory on which Inspector Conway is working, namely that Glickman and Sigel were around the soda water factory when it took fire. “Glickman’s record is so bad that he would do anything for money” said the inspector. “He has been arrested for different crimes. I saw him at the hospital today and accused him of setting fire to the pop factory. He gave me names of witnesses who, he said, would prove that he was not near the factory I will see them, and unless they prove an alibi for the two men things are likely to go hard with them on account of that fire.”

Chicago Herald, Chicago, IL 31 May 1891


Caught In Their Own Fire.

Glickman and Sigel Under Arrest for Incendiarism Last Wednesday Night.

David Glickman and his pal, Sigel, though still unable to leave the Michael Reese Hospital, are practically under arrest. Fire Inspector Conway and the Maxwell street police are now satisfied that the men were burned in Honneberg & Samson’s soda water factory at 31 Canalport avenue, last Wednesday night. They did not attend the wedding feast at 257 Maxwell street, where they claimed to have received their injuries on that night. The police have witnesses who saw Sigel running away from the soda water factory, and Inspector Conway says he has proof that Glickman was at the factory also. “I know just how the thing was done now,” said the inspector, yesterday. “The two men were hired to fire the factory. They went there, turned on all the gas jets, and when the gas filled the room touched it off. They were not expecting a sudden explosion, and they were caught and burned before they could escape through the back door. I will now try to catch the principals in this little conspiracy. I don’t know what object Glickman and Sigel had in starting the fire, but I am inclined to think they did it for a price, and I think one of them will be willing to tell who hired them to do the job.”

Chicago Herald, Chicago, IL 2 Jun 1891


Alleged Firebugs Arraigned.

Two Men Charged with Setting Fire to a Soda Water Factory.

David Glickman and Simon Sigel were arraigned before Justice Doyle yesterday on the charge of arson, and they were held in $1,000 bonds each for a hearing of June 18. These are the men who were severely burned about two weeks ago. They claimed that unknown persons threw a bag saturated with kerosene oil on them and then set fire to their clothing. When this story was disproved by the police they then claimed they were burned by the upsetting of a lamp. The conflicting stories of the men led the fire inspector to make an investigation. It was ascertained that an attempt had been made to fire a soda water factory at 31 Canalport avenue the same night that Glickman and Sigel were burned. Gas had been allowed to escape in a room until it was filled, and then a lighted match was thrown into the building. In the explosion which followed Glickman and Sigel, the police say, received their injuries. Two or three persons saw the men running away from the building. They have been in the Michael Reese Hospital ever since.

Chicago Herald, Chicago, IL 9 Jun 1891