Brooklyn, NY Factory Fire, Dec 1909
FIRE IN A FACTORY COSTS THREE LIVES
Fear That Other Workers May Have Perished in a $100,000 Brooklyn Blaze.
MAD RUSH TO ESCAPE
Employes Take to the Fire Escapes as the Flames Cut Off Stairways.
Fire in a factory in Tiffany Place, between Harrison and Degraw Streets, Brooklyn, last night, caused the loss of three lives and destroyed property valued at about $100,000.
The victims of the blaze were men employed in the shop, which was owned and occupied by the firm of Edward B. Jordan & Co., cabinet makers.
It was feared later that one or two other workers might have been killed, and, so far as was possible, the ruins were being searched for bodies. As the firm did not keep the addresses of all its employes the police experienced difficulty in determining whether there were any unaccounted for.
The bodies recovered by the firemen were those of Max Glanowitzer, 28 years old; Salvatore Bambero of 64 Cheever Place, who ran the elevator in the building, and an unidentified man.
Three alarms were sounded for the blaze, and these brought a big fire-fighting force to the scene. Deputy Chief Lally sped down from headquarters in his automobile and took charge of the work of battling with the blaze. An automatic alarm in the factory had given the first warning of the fire, just before 6 o'clock, as the forty men in the building were preparing to quit work for the day.
Because of the inflammable nature of the contents of the factory, a four-story brick structure, with a ground measurement of 45 by 100 feet, the flames spread swiftly through the building.
At the first alarm there was a wild scramble on the part of the workers to get out of the factory. The heavy smoke from the burning varnish, shellac, and glue drove those on the upper floors from the stairways to the fire escapes, down which they climbed to the street.
Bambero, the elevator operator, was suffocated on the second floor, while trying to escape. Glanowitzer also met his death on that floor. Metz was found dead behind a packing case on the third floor. The bodies of the three were found by the firemen and carried down ladders by Lieut. Frank Owens and Firemen Frederick Sweet and John Murray of Truck 51. After being taken to the Amity Street Police Station, the bodies were removed to the morgue.
When Chief Lally arrived and saw the extent of the blaze he sent out a call for the fireboats Abram S. Hewitt, Seth Low, and New Yorker. These steamed to the foot of Harrison Street, three blocks from the scene of the fire, and lines of hose were run from them to the burning factory. Two water towers and the department search lights also were used in fighting the flames.
So large a crowd gathered near the building that the reserves of three precincts were sent to the scene to maintain the fire lines.
The fire started on the second floor, and is supposed to have been caused by a careless worker casting a lighted match into some rubbish. It was not known that any of the employes had been caught in the building and suffocated until the firemen stumbled over the bodies. Mr. Jordan, the head of the firm, could not account for their losing their lives. He thought they must have gone back to get their coats and hats and were trapped.
Seeing that the building in which the blaze started was doomed the firemen devoted most of their efforts to saving the surrounding property, which included the factory of Frederick Levy & Co., makers of printer's inks, and the main building of the Jordan firm, which faces on Degraw Street. This latter building was badly damaged by a fire about a year ago.
The New York Times, New York, NY 22 Dec 1909