Cleveland, OH Hotel Belden Fire, Nov 1946
FIRE KILLS ONE AT CLEVELAND.
HOTEL BLAZE FATAL TO WOMAN; 11 Hurt; 80 MADE HOMELESS.
Cleveland, Nov. 19 -- Fire that flashed through the 72-room, residential Hotel Belden on Cleveland's east side left one woman dead today, 11 others injured, five of them seriously, and nearly 80 occupants temporarily homeless.
Assistant Fire Chief JAMES NIMMO estimated damage at $30,000 and said the blaze apparently had a good start before it was reported.
Origin was undetermined, but firemen expressed the opinion it started either from the first floor incinerator of the four-story brick structure or the basement boiler.
While most of the occupants were reading, listening to their radios, or otherwise occupied last night, flames swept up the stairwell, cutting off that means of escape to many top floor residents.
Neighbors heroically led or helped a score or more frightened occupants to safety before fire companies arrived.
MRS. AMELIA HIRSCH, telephone operator at the hotel, turned in the first alarm at 9:27 p.m. last night, then started notifying occupants to leave their rooms. She did not leave the switchboard until all the residents were out.
Two children were hurled from second and third floor windows into the arms of neighbors in the street. Some escaped by tying bed sheets together and letting themselves down from their windows. Ladders were brought hurriedly from homes nearby, and other occupants were brought down them.
The dead woman was identified from a metal tag in her purse as MRS. FREEDA C. SHANKS, a middle-aged widow. Her body bore severe burns but at the county morgue death was attributed to suffocation by smoke.
Of 11 persons taken to hospitals, only five were held overnight.
One occupant of the hotel, WILLIAM J. BROWN, 27, a violinist with the Cleveland orchestra, tossed a $1,000 violin and viola out the window before helping his wife, MARIANNE, 26, a violin teacher, to saftey.
The Marion Star Ohio 1946-11-19