New York, NY Deaf And Dumb Asylum Fire, Nov 1881


The attic of a two-story frame building, isolated from, but standing in the grounds of, the New York Institutioin for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb, commpnly known as the Fort Washington Deaf and Dumb Asylum, at One Hundred and Sixty-second street and Eleventh avenue, was discovered on fire yesterday afternoon. It is supposed that a spark from the heating furnace in the basement of the building, which is used as a hospital for deaf-mutes suffering from contagious diseases, set fire to a beam or joist in the flue at the second floor. At the time of the outbreak two boys sick with chicken pox were in the first floor of the hospital. They were quickly removed by their nurse. The engines were summoned from Carmansville and Manhattanville. They arrived promptly -- taking into consideration the distance they had to run and the condition of some of the streets. The north end of the garret and the roof above it were then ablaze. An effort was made to get both engines to work quickly, but the Department of Public Works had forbidden the officers of the institution to make a larger connection with the four-inch main than a two-inch pipe, so that there was barely enough water for Engine No. 38. Engine No. 37 drew a short supply of water from a well after wasting much time. A special call was sent out for Engine No. 36, which is stationed in Harlem, but when it arrived it could not get to work owing to lack of water. The fire was, however, got under in half an hour, and $800 damage was done. There were in the main building 460 deaf mutes, and they watched the fire and the operations of the firemen with interest. A better supply of water appears necessary here.

The New York Times New York 1881-11-29