New York City, NY Bridge Over Excavation Collapses, May 1902




One man was killed and a hundred men, women and children were injured by the collapse of a 100-foot bridge spanning an excavation twenty feet in depth at the northwest corner of Fifth Avenue and EIghteenth Street at 6:20 o'clock last night. Over a hundred persons had congregated on the bridge to view the parade in honor of the distinguished French visitors. Nearly all of them were dropped into the pit on jagged rocks and huge beams, which were to be used in the construction of the Manicle office building, which is being erected on the site by the Henry Corn Conrstruction Company.
Charles A. Cowan, of No. 1,123 Broadway, had the contract for the building. J. G. Miller & Co., of No. 314 to 320 Kosciusko Street, Brooklyn, have the contract for the preparatory structural work, and they built the bridge. James Lawton, superintendent of the excavation, of No. 699 Hudson Street, was arrested on the scene immediately after the accident, and was taken to the West Thirtieth Street station and locked up on a charge of homicide on a warrant issued by Coroner Scholer. The coroner also issued warrants for J. G. Miller and Charles A. Cowan.
The bridge which collapsed extended from Eighteenth Street half way to Nineteenth Street. It was the kind of bridge used in front of most buildings in course of construction, being about six feet wide and having a floor of one-inch boards. One of the uprights supporting the bridge had rotted. It broke in two without the slightest warning. The north end of the bridge went down with a crash, while the other end rose fifteen feet, carrying about half the poeple with it, and then sank into the hole. In the hole was a struggling mass of crying, shouting and cursing humanity. The stronger men were the first to arise, and, according to eyewitnesses, they walked over the bodies of men and women to escape.
Four patrolmen and one detective sergeant were on the bridge when it collapsed. None of them were severely injured. The policemen were JOHN H. DELANEY, FRANK T. LANE, MICHAEL J. McMANUS and GEORGE ISSING, of the West Thirty-Seventh Street Precinct, and Detective Sergeant JOHN HOWARD.
The French and American sailors had passed the point, and Squadron A and Troop C had also gone by. The 22d Regiment was just in front of the bridge when it went down, and the officers gave order to break ranks and go to the assistance of the injured. About twenty of the 22d Regiment men sprang into the hole as quickly as possible and began carrying out the injured women.
Meanwhile calls had been sent for ambulances from Bellevue, St. Vincent and the New York Hospital, and the surgeons were soon as work. The injured were arried out and treated on the walk before being rushed to hospitals for additional treatment.

The Dead:
E. L. CORLIOGE, forty-five years old, circulation agent of "The New York Commercial," of No. 929 East One-hundred and sixty third Street; skull fractured; died instantly.

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