New York City, NY Turner Hall Fire, Jan 1880



New York, Jan. 5. -- The progress of the fire in Turner Hall was so great that it was hardly five minutes after the first engine company arrived before the entire inside of the premises seemed to be alive with flames, long tongues of which ran up the wood work with a speed which put to naught the first efforts of the firemen.
One man, while crying frantically for aid to the firemen beneath, was all the while pushing a woman, who seemed to be resisting, from the fourth story window. She finally leaped and struck the ground on her feet with a sickening crash, breaking both legs and arms and almost crushing her to death. Of the twelve or fifteen persons sleeping in sixty-four, four were burned to death and five injured. The little boy was burned to a crisp. Others were either dead when taken from the burning building or died before they reached the station house. The actual cause of the fire is unknown.
There were no fire escapes attached to the building. It was not until the thumping of the fireman's axes on the boards and tin over their heads re-echoed through the house, that the men and women underneath were roused to learn their danger. Streams of water were now directed into the building, and the fireman's work began to tell, but their attention was demanded in another quarter. From elevated portions of the central part of the building cries of agony and shouts for help were heard, and the firemen cut through the roof and sides till they gained an entrance to the garret. Here, in rooms on the east side, had slept six waiters; in the west side bed rooms were three servant girls. The floor was a sea of flames, in which the terrified men and women ran wildly about, gasping for air and shouting for help.
GEORGE MULLER, ERNEST and HERMAN RUHL made their way toward the front and reached the roof more than half suffocated and burned here and there. LOUIS MEYER sprang from a window into the yard below, a distance of sixty feet or more, and was picked up nearly dead. LOUIS SCHMIDT was found, after the firemen ventured in, crouching in a corner where he had been unable to escape, dead and burned to a crisp. HENRY GERWEIHLER, unable to follow his more fortunate comrades, jumped from a window into the yard and died from the effects of his leap, every bone in his body being broken. TERESA ERHARDT never left her room. She was found burned to death, her features blackened almost beyond recognition. ANNIE BAUER sprang from the window rather than die in the fire, and was found in the yard on the west side of the building. She was horribly burned and, with the injuries caused by her fall, cannot live. ROSE, the last of the servants, sprang out also, and striking an arbor in the yard, in her descent, broke both legs, both arms and received internal injuries.
The dead -- LOUIS SCHMIDT, 30 years old, a waiter, was burned to a crisp in a sleeping room.
HENRY GERWEIHLER, 25 years old, waiter, jumped from a fourth story rear window and died.
WILLIAM GEIB, 10 years old, taken out on the roof the adjoining building, died before he could be placed in the ambulance. TERESA ERHARDT, 25 years old, servant, burned to death in her room.
Injured -- WILLIAM WINCKEL, 40 years old, lessee of the Hall, severely burned about the hands, face and arms. JOSEPHINE WINCKEL, 40 years old, wife of lessee, face terribly disfigured by burns and the body badly blistered, little chance of recovery. ANNIE BAUER, 30 years, servant, jumped from a window and internally injured, badly burned, will probably die.
ROSE, servant, about 20 years old, jumped from the window, both legs and arms broken, and internally injured. MARGARET GEIB, aged 30, sister to Mrs. Winckel, face and feet severely burned.

Salt Lake Herald Utah 1880-01-06