Dover, NH Cocheco Mfg Fire, 1907 - 5 Boys Missing


Big Factory In New Hampshire Burns---Operatives Jump from Windows.

DOVER, N. H., Jan. 26.---Four or five young mill operatives were killed and a property loss of $500,000 was caused by a fire which destroyed Mill No.1 of the Cocheco Manufacturing Company this morning. The charred bodies of four boys were found this afternoon in the ruins.

Five boys are missing. They were Charles Cosgrove and Constantine Elopulos, aged 16 years, and John Nicholopulos, ______Redden, and _____ Hester, aged 15 years. James Ashton, aged 45, had both legs fractured by jumping. William Turner, aged 50, had his hip broken by jumping. Others were less seriously hurt.

The fire started in the mill not long after the 500 or more operatives had assembled for their day's work. Friction from a belt generated sparks which lodged in a mass of cotton and quickly created sheets of flame on the third floor. The exits quickly became blocked by a struggling mass of millhands. On the fifth or top floor the operatives were mostly boys, and some of them lost their lives. On the first and second stories the operatives were largely girls, and these reached the ground by stairways.

The men were grouped on the third and fourth floors. Many found their way of escape by stairways cut off and several jumped from the windows, among them Turner and Ashton. Others secured the ends of ropes inside of the windows and descended to the ground, in doing this they were scorched by the fire and their hands were lacerated by the friction from the ropes. There were many daring rescues by the firemen.

The City Department was assisted by a fire brigade with a steamer from Portsmouth, but not until 1 o'clock in the afternoon was the fire under control. After smoldering all afternoon they started again to-night, but were confined to the building. The loss is fully covered by insurance.

The New York Times, New York, NY 27 Jan 1907