Troy, NY Clothing Factory Fire, Feb 1896
Probably the most heartrending scenes were those witnessed on the streets. The mothers and other relatives of the girls who were at work in the factory soon learned of the disastrous fire and hurried to the scene.
They gathered around the burning building, distracted with grief and fear, making anxious inquiries for the loved ones.
Some of them attempted to rush up into the burning building and the officers and bystanders found it difficult to restrain them. A number of women were soon on their knees on the ice-covered pavements crying piteously to heaven for assistance.
The spread of the flames was remarkable. There was a strong wind blowing at the time and in less than it takes to tell it the building was afire from top to bottom. Twenty streams of water seemed to have no effect and there was every indication early in the evening that the entire block would be consumed.
The fire extended into the big structure north, gutted it; the Western Union building was burned out and it was not until about four hours after the fire started that it was under control. The loss will probably reach $400,000.
The three women who were killed by jumping from the windows were almost unrecognizable when picked up, so fearfully were their heads crushed.
Many of the injured were those caught under falling walls.
While the fire was raging in the Kenmore Restaurant, Thomas Rozzo, an Italian peanut vender, who kept a stand in front of the place and who was inside, had a narrow escape from death.
One of the huge timbers fell on him and he was imprisoned in the ruins with fire on every side. Officers Burke, Watson, Guy and James Quinn, a boy, went to his aid. More of the wall fell in and the policemen were each badly bruised and cut. Officer Burke was so badly injured that he was taken to his home. The others returned to duty.
Young Quinn was struck on the chest by falling timbers and badly suffocated. He is quite seriously injured. The Italian was rescued later and taken to the hospital.
The firemen who were injured were caught under falling walls. Superintendent of Police Willard made a careful investigation this evening and reported shortly after midnight that it is almost certain that twelve girls were burned up in the buildings. He believes that there were many more who never escaped alive and the names of many more who perished cannot be learned until tomorrow.
The Morning Times Washington District of Columbia 1896-02-18