Greenwood Lake, NY Mountain Springs Hotel Fire, Aug 1926





Six persons were injured and 37 guests escaped the fate of those who perished recently at Haines Falls when fire of mysterious origin destroyed the Mountain Springs hotel, Greenwood Lake, at 5:40 o'clock Sunday morning. HARRY A. GOFF, of Highland Mills, lessee estimated the loss at $60,000. The loss was covered by insurance.
When it was found the Greenwood Lake fire department could not cope with the situation, the Warwick department was summoned. Hurrying over eight miles of rugged road the firemen reached the scene 20 minutes after the flames were discovered by EDWARD J. LEWIS, a dishwasher. The fire had burned so briskly, however, that the three-story frame structure was destroyed before they could swing into action.
Both companies directed their operations against three adjoining frame structures -- an outbuilding, an unoccupied frame dwelling and a tea room -- and saved them.
LEWIS arose early as usual and went into the kitchen to make ready for the chef. He had occasion to go to the storeroom and had no sooner stepped through the pantry door than he discovered flames leaping from underneath the building, seemingly all around. He rushed back into the hotel and aroused WILLIAM E. CHAPMAN, the steward.
Together they hurried from room to room and knocked on the doors, arousing the guests. While fighting his way chokingly through a dense pall of smoke past CHAPMAN who led several guests downstairs, LEWIS stumbled against two terror-stricken young women in the upper hallway. He grasped their hands and hurried them downstairs onto the lawn.
They were MISS HELEN and MISS MARION FRUBISH, of Greene avenue, Brooklyn. They were burned on the face and hands and were hysterical when attended on the lawn by DR. M. R. BRADNER, of Warwick.
MR. GOFF was among those led to safety by CHAPMAN. He is the owner of GOFF'S Inn, a famous hostelry at Highland Mills. He showed much concern because the register had been consumed by the blaze, but stood checking the guests as they came out of the building. Panic stricken he announced that there was a man on the top floor and attempted to rush back through a wall of flames to reach him, but was overpowered just as the man appeared. He fainted.
Most of the guests were forced to leave in night attire.
MR. and MRS. HENRY L. HEATH, of 34 North Dean street, Trenton, N.J., and two friends, whose names were not learned, were burned. The HEATHS were burned on the hands, the others about the head. They ran the gauntlet of the flames.
Patrolman EDWARD MANNING and PETER BLANCO, of New York city, were among the missing. They had been visiting FRANK GANNING at the Breezy Point Inn until nearly 4 o'clock. The entreaties of LEWIS and CHAPMAN failed to awaken them. It was only after a person hurled a missile through the window of their room, breaking the glass, that they awoke.
By that time their escape had been cut off, the flames having leaped through the big frame structure as though it were tinder. They smashed out the window, hung for a second at the ledge, and then jumped from the third story to a rock pile below. They were badly cut and bruised, but insisted upon returning to New York city and enlisted the aid of LOUIS MARCHIO, proprietor of MURCHIO'S Italian Gardens, at Midvale, to motor them late into the city.
GANNING had accompanied them to the hotel earlier and said they had chatted until 4 o'clock. He bade them goodbye and said he did not learn until later in the day that the hotel had been razed.
MANNING and BIANCO had arrived in a Ford sedan and Sunday afternoon MANNING called a garage in Greenwood Lake and asked MARCHIO to have his machine returned to New York city.
They and the other guests lost personal belongings. MR. GOFF said that the furnishings in the hotel were new this season and up late welcoming guests and had gone throughout the building making sure everything was all right.
No one could be found who could account for the origin of the blaze. FRANK BYERSDORFER, owner of a boat livery across from the Ryerson cottage in the vicinity, up early to see off a fishing party turned in the alarm.
Eight minutes later the Greenwood Lake fire department went into action. They checked the spread of the flames until the Warwick firemen arrived. As the hotel was in a thickly populated part of the west shore between the mountain and the lake, their work is said to have prevented enormous loss.
For three hours under the able direction of Chief "BILL" UTTER four lines of hose were trained on the fire and surrounding buildings.
The grim jests of such a situation were everywhere. A neighbor who admitted he had in the past thought little of the local firemen's ability since organization two years ago, is now ready to contribute whenever funds are requested.
An old gnarled apple tree standing near the hotel stood through the heat and emerged with a load of baked apples. When the ruins were dampened by a shower, neighbors plucked the baked apples and ate them.
One of the firemen, RAYMOND GARRISON, suffered a sprained ankle. BEAUFOR DUNN, an enthusiastic promoter of the fire company, played an important part in curbing the flames.
A surging mob of the curious was driven back by a turn of the hose when they hampered the work of the firemen.
Good samaritans came forward and loaned coats and other attire to the fire sufferers, who were taken by MR. GOFF to his Inn at Highland Mills.
The blaze started under a rear porch, or else under a nearby tangle of underbrush, according to investigation. The steward believes a carlessly thrown cigarette stub or a lighted match dropped over the railing, ignited the shrubbery which smouldered for an hour or so and then burst forth.

Daily Herald Middletown New York 1926-08-02