Bradford, PA Higgins House (Hotel) Fire, Apr 1893
THE HIGGINS HOUSE AGAIN DESTROYED BY FIRE.
WILD SCENES OF PANIC -- THREE LIVES LOST, AND MANY JUMP FROM SECOND AND THIRD-FLOOR WINDOWS -- BABES THROWN INTO THE CREEK -- BURNED OUT FIVE TIMES IN TWO YEARS, BUT STILL NOT DISCOURAGED.
-- A TITUSVILLE MAN AMONG THE VICTIMS -- LIST OF THE KILLED AND INJURED.
(By Associated Press To The Herald)
Bradford, April 2. -- The Higgins house, the scene of so many fires, was destroyed again Saturday morning, causing the death or terrible injure to many persons who were unable to escape or sought escape by jumping. The fire started soon after 4 o'clock from a gas jet under a coffee boiler in the kitchen. ED PICKRAND, the night clerk, first saw the blaze. He ran up stairs to rouse the sleepers. He hammered upon the doors in the second story and ran to the third, where he repeated the alarm.
In a moment all was in confusion. The house was filled with smoke almost instantly, and the tinder like partitions and ceilings on the first floor were soon in a mass of flames. Of the hundred and more people who were asleep in the house but few escaped by the stairway.
Several railroad men who were in the vicinity of the hotel sent in an alarm. Many persons were seen at the windows who dared not jump, and many did jump, but the jump was a bad one to risk. From the upper story it was thirty feet on the west side with a plank roadway on which to land. On the east side was the creek, which made the jump forty feet. Several persons made the leap into the stream and were rescued.
The flames had communicated to the bridge which led to a frame structure on the opposite side of the creek, occupied by Grocer LEROY, J. A. WALDO and others, and the firemen were ordered across the bridge by Chief ROPP. The heat was intense, almost blistering the flesh of the hosemen who attempted the crossing. Some who had volunteered their assistance dropped behind, unable to face the furnace, but the department boys pressed on, crossed the bridge and soon had a stream upon the burning buildings.
While this was going on a woman appeared at one of the windows on the second floor and threw her baby into the creek below. Instantly an unknown man jumped into the water on the opposite side, and daring the terrific heat, saved the little one from drowning. While the man was in the act of rescuing the child another babe was thrown by its terrified mother from a window into the water. The man made a heroic effort to save this infant also, but it was impossible, and the little one disappeared.
Shortly after 4 o'clock MR. HIGGINS was aroused by an alarm of fire, to find himself and wife hemmed in by the flames. All avenues of escape except one were cut off. The only thing for them to do was to jump from the window. MR. HIGGINS jumped first and was followed by his wife. He escaped without injury, but MRS. HIGGINS sustained a fracture of the leg and internal injuries. She was taken to the Riddle house and tenderly cared for.
"Jump from the windows," was the cry to the bewildered ones after the alarm. "Jump to save yourselves."
Prof. NEUMEYER, of Jamison's orchestra, was among those who leaped from the building. He had both legs broken and was injured internally. He was removed to the city hospital. J. W. OSBOURNE, who also made the leap, had both legs broken, and was removed to the hospital. Hundreds of people crowded the streets and interfered with the firemen.
The work of searching among the ruins for the bodies of the dead was begun as soon as the embers cooled sufficiently. The search was prosecuted vigorously and thoroughly, and was facilitated by the completeness of the destruction, the building having been reduced to charred embers, hardly a stick of timber remaining. About 6 o'clock the searchers came upon the blackened remains of a man who was burned terribly, but identification was possible by means of a number of railway passes found in a pocketbook that was in a fair state of preservation, having been protected by the body. Three passes bore the name of Engineer HAVELIN, of the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburg, who came in from Rochester yesterday evening. The second body found is supposed to be that of a machinist named PARKS. Shortly after finding the second body Fireman RIDER, who was working upon the bank of a creek, discovered another charred trunk. This body was burned beyond hope of recognition. The three bodies were removed to the morgue.
In the baggage room of the station were found the remains of the sample trunk of a jewelry drummer. Among the blackened embers were found thousands of dollars worth of valuable watches, pins, chains, rings, etc. These were gathered into boxes and pails and taken to the RIddell house. The jewelry drummer states that his sample cases were valued at $35,000.
The search for bodies was prosecuted vigorously until nearly 11 o'clock, but without discovering evidences of any other unfortunates. The debris along the bank of the creek was also cleared away, but no more bodies were found.
The loss on the B. R. and P. company's building, freight office, offices, papers, etc., amounts to $10,000. The entire loss of the company, including freight cars and liabilities, will be about $30,000, insured; L. L. HIGGINS, hotel, cigar factory, etc., $15,000, light insurance; J. H. BARTLETT, $2,000; D. LUNDERGAN, $1,000, no insurance; J. A. EDGETT, $1,500; J. A. WALDO, $1,500; LEROY, $2,000.
MISS G. BOND, a Swedish girl who was employed in the hotel, is missing. A trunk containing wearing apparel, supposed to belong to her, was taken in charge by the coroner and sent to the morgue. The girl was told to jump from a window, but she was afraid to do so. She rushed down the flaming stairway and was seen no more. It is probable that the remains of the BOND girl will never be recovered.
Dead And Injured.
The dead are:
THOMAS CULLEN, Bradford, sign painter.
FRANK HAVILAND, Sunbury, Pa., engineer.
ASA PARKS, Dunkirk, N.Y., machinist.
The injured are:
JAMES BRISSON, head cut.
JAMES BRYSAR, face, hands and feet badly hurt.
W. N. BUCHANAN, suffers from shock.
TED BURNS, fireman, hurt by falling wall.
J. U. CODY, of Jamestown, hurt about the head.
J. CODY, hotel clerk, badly burned and injured internally.
H. J. CAMPBELL, shock.
MR. DRYSDAL, of Johnsonville, hip hurt.
G. W. EIGNER, suffers from shock.
JAMES GILLESPIE, ankle broken.
EUGENE HALL, injured internally.
HARRY HANNON, face and hands burned.
MRS. L. L. HIGGINS, wife of proprietor, injured internally.
RICHARD HIGGINS, son of proprietor, hands cut.
W. J. HALLIDAY, traveling salesman, ankle broken.
HARRY JONES, cut about head, face and hands.
PETER McGARVEY, of Titusville, legs burned, suffering from shock.
HERMAN NEUMEYER, right ankle broken.
J. W. OSBORN, of Buffalo, spine and ankle fractured; will probably die.
ED PICKRAND, night clerk, spine injured, probably fatally.
FRANK RIGGLE, fireman, caught under falling roof, back hurt.
MRS. F. TUCKER and baby, of Elmira, both badly burned.
MRS. WEAVER, burned about head and arms.
Bradford, April 2. -- (Special) -- Later developments in the Higgins house fire show that but three persons lost their lives. THOMAS CULLEN, Bradford, sign painter; FRANK HAVILAND, Sunbury, Pa., engineer, and ASA PARKS, Dunkirk, machinist, were the victims. At the hospital several of the injured are being cared for. All are in fair condition except JOHN OSBORN, who is in a precarious way. His ankle is fractured, his spine hurt and he was injured internally. He will have a hard time to pull through, the doctors say. One of the heavy losers is a New York man who had a trunk full of diamonds and watches in the B. R. & P. baggage room. It was destroyed, at a loss of $26,000. The railroad company's loss is over $50,000. On Saturday they erected a temporary ticket office. The Higgins house will be rebuilt. This is the fifth time for L. L. HIGGINS to lose property by fire in two years.
Titusville Herald Pennsylvania 1893-04-03