Jersey City, NJ Fires, Apr 1871

Incendiarism in Jersey City-Two Destructive Fires- Narrow Escape of a Family.

About 3 o’clock yesterday morning the stable of Patrick Reilly, on Colden-street, was observed by the Police to be on fire. The upper portion of the building being filled with hay and straw, the flames effected their work of destruction in quick time. The stable also contained six horses, which were burned to cinders in their stalls. The fire, being allowed to pursue its course unchecked-no firemen having hitherto appeared-spread to an adjoining dwelling-house, in which a family names Lowtz were quietly reposing. Officers Logan and Schindlar, perceiving the danger of the sleeping inmates, manfully burst open the door, worked their way through the flames and smoke and rescued the man, his wife and six children, all in a half-suffocated condition. Two fire engines arrived in time to check the further progress of the flames. Mr. Reilly’s loss on the horses, stable and its contents is about $2,000, on which there is no insurance. Mr. Kerrigan, proprietor of the house occupied by the Lowtz family, estimates his loss at $1,500; not insured. Shortly before the flames appeared, a man was seen to jump from the stable window. Suspicion being attached to one John Rorke, as the guilty party, he was arrested yesterday afternoon, and committed for further examination.

While the foregoing incidents were transpiring in the Eleventh Ward, a large double frame building on the Hackensack Plank road, near Union Hill, used by Mr. Rancher as an hotel, was likewise found on fire. A brisk breeze which was blowing at the time, and the absence of any fire apparatus, gave the flames full power to riot unimpeded until the hotel and adjoining two-story frame building were burned to the earth. The inmates of the hotel barely escaped with their lives, their property, together with the contents of the building, sharing the fate of the latter. The two-story house was occupied and owned by Michael Hassenplug as a harness-store and residence. Mr. Rancher’s loss is about $9,000, which is fully covered by insurance in the Germania and Hamburg Insurance Companies. Hassenplug’s loss on the building is about $1,700, and on stock and furniture $1,200; no insurance. A German who kept a barbershop in the hotel states he was awakened by the smell of smoke early yesterday morning and on searching found a fire burning against the front door. He extinguished it and returned to bed, but was soon reawakened by a brilliant light and the odor of oil or kerosene. The premises have been fired twice within a month, and of late incendiary fires are becoming alarmingly frequent in the district.

The New York Times, New York, NY 29 Apr 1871