Boston, MA Revere House Fire, Jan 1912


Blaze Starts in Old Revere House and Spreads to Nearby Buildings.


Others Escaped Through Halls of the Hotel, Which Burned Rapidly.


Hall of National Lancers and Engine House Adjoining Are Likewise Prey of the Flames.

Special to The New York Times.

BOSTON, Tuesday, Jan. 16.--A small fire started in the basement of the old Revere House, in Bowdoin Square, shortly before 2 o'clock this morning. Within half an hour the historic building was in flames from cellar to roof, five stories above, 200 men and women had been carried down ladders and fire escapes and dragged through smoke-filled halls, and when a count was taken twelve persons were found to be missing. They are supposed to have perished in the fire.

How the blaze started is not known. It began in an out of the way part of the hotel where, in the middle of the night, it burned itself into a brisk blaze. When it was finally discovered it had made good headway and quickly ate its way to the elevator shafts.

It roared up these tubes as up so many chimneys, the shafts providing a fine draft, which fanned the fires at their bottoms into regular columns of flame. The fire mushroomed out on the various floors, spreading in this way through all five floors and the attic of the building, so that to the hurriedly awakened occupants it seemed as though the entire place were a bed of flames.

The first alarm was followed by a second, and then a third and finally a fourth which brought scores of firemen and many pieces of apparatus. The police were turned out in numbers and did almost as good work as the firemen in rescuing the occupants of the hotel.

The stairways remained intact for some few moments after the flames had spread through other parts of the building and down these men were lead and dragged while women in their nightclothes were carried on the shoulders of policemen.

The stairways were used as long as a man could remain upon them and breathe, but when the last of the firemen had been driven back and was forced to concede that the stairways were no longer possible, there remained still in the building perhaps half of the 200 guests who had gone to sleep there last night.

Ladders had been run up against all sides of the building that could be reached from the street, and up these the firemen ran to every window at which appeared forms and to those windows which gave into rooms not yet ablaze, where there was an opportunity to form a base for further exploration of the various floors.

Men and women were carried down the ladders to the street, where ambulance surgeons from the nearby hospitals had formed a field hospital in the street. Most of those who were brought down the ladders had had no time to get their clothing and were cared for in nearby houses.

The old hotel had 300 rooms, and most of these were occupied, it being estimated that more than 200 persons were in the hotel when the fire started. Of these all but twelve, it was said, had been accounted for, and, while there remains the possibility that some of the missing twelve escaped, it is feared now that their bodies are somewhere in the ruins of the building.

The old pile of brick and stone which was the Revere Houses, is a mass of flaming, smoking ruins at 2:30 this morning, and any of the twelve missing ones who were trapped in the building now be buried beneath tons of debris.

The police say guests were left on the third floor, unable to get out.