New York, NY Park Place Building Explosion - incidences and escapes

During the process of the fire Robert A McDonald and Michael F. Christie, two letter carriers in citizens' clothes, got into a row with Patrolman Joseph Bock of the Church Street Police Station. McDonald was ordered to get outside the fire lines, and Office Bock says that he refused to do so and threatened to hit him. Christie, he claims, interfered when he arrested McDonald, and so he placed them both under arrest. The police say that Bock and the officers who helped him were stoned while the were taking the letter carriers to the station.

A German, who gave his name as George Weber, said that he saw the engineer of the building, and he told him that he was trying to let off the steam when the explosion took place.

One of the remarkable and wonderful escapes from death was that of Louis Bernard, the stone grinder employed by the firm of Liebler & Maass. He was at work on the top floor when he heard the explosion and felt the building beginning to totter. He rushed up to the roof, and was looking into the street, evidently bewildered. The wall came down gradually. Louis was seen to lift his arms high above his head as he came down with the wall form a height of five stories. But he came down on the top of the heap. No one who saw him coming down expected to see him alive again. But, to the astonishment of everybody, he got up, walked down from the heap, and, with the assistance of two men, went to a barroom and took a drink. He had some bruises and said that he felt badly, but he was glad to be still alive. He was taken to Chambers Street Hospital.

M. H. Brown, who works in a Barclay Street china store, was one of the life savers. He was standing at the corner of Barclay Street and College Place when he heard a loud crash around the corner. Running up to Park Place he could see little else than a heavy cloud of dust rising up into the air and spreading over the street, while cries and shouts of frightened people who had barely escaped from being buried under the falling walls filled the air. He and two other men, one of whom was Thomas Lynch, a carpenter, thought that they heard voices issuing from the ruins. They pulled out some beams, which exposed part of the basement in which was Peterson's kitchen. They pulled out three men alive, and then the firemen came up and the police cleared the street. The men were taken to Chambers Street Hospital.


At 1:40 A. M. the diggers succeeded in unearthing another body. It was that of a young girl, and it was promptly identifies as that of Miss Goldsmith of 417 East Seventy-ninth Street. She and her brother worked in the building, and both, it is believed, perished.

The New York Times, New York, NY 23 Aug 1891