Sunday, January 4, 2015


photo credit, Monroe County Library System and Rochester Public Library

The Cortland Democrat, Friday, November 16, 1888.


Frightful Loss of Life by Fire in Rochester-The Steam Gauge and Lantern Works Destroyed by the Flames.
   ROCHESTER, NOV. 10.—Fire broke out about 7:35 P. M. yesterday in the Rochester Steam Gauge and Lantern company's works, which resulted in the death of at least ten of the employees. The works are in a seven-story building on the bank of the Genesee river at the falls, and the first outward indication of the fire was two men jumping from a third-story window into the river. One of them recovered himself and escaped, and the other is thought to be buried under the wall which fell a few minutes later. About forty people were at work in the building, mostly on the third floor. The smoke was very dense, and the men could not reach the fire escapes and were forced to jump from the third-story window. Fourteen jumped on the west side of the building and were frightfully injured, six of them dying within an hour.
   Those who died soon after making their escape were Joseph Dorner, John Gremour, Joseph Webber, Henry Schneider and John Gale. Several others never made their appearance and are supposed to be buried in the ruins. Among these victims is supposed to be a girl.
   William Devlin jumped from the third story to the pavement and was picked up insensible, but was resuscitated later. His left leg and left arm were broken and he was considerably burned. He says that the first intimation of the fire was a loud roar of flames bursting up the elevator well. Everybody made a rush for the window, pushing him against it and when told to jump, he did so. That was the last he knew till he found himself lying in a shoe factory.
   At 11 A. M. eight bodies had been recovered and twenty-six were reported missing. Five of the dead men have been identified as follows: John Gall, Joseph Danzer, Joseph Webber, Henry Snyder and C. A. Ochs. The other three bodies are charred and burned beyond recognition.
   Three charred and mutilated bodies were taken from the ruins of the works this morning in addition to the five bodies recovered last night. They have not been identified. There are undoubtedly more bodies among the ruins.
   Among those who are missing and whose bodies are probably under the smoking debris is Alonzo Stone, whose wife was murdered by the tramp Deacons a year ago last August, and for which crime Deacons was hanged.
   The building in which the fire was confined was six stories high. About sixty men were working on the three upper floors. The factory was built on the high bank of the Genesee river and was difficult for the firemen to get at, owing to one side being entirely closed to them. The scenes at the fire were heartrending, and prominent figures among those who were present were three priests in their surplices, who administered spiritual comfort to those who were in a dying condition.
   The total loss is estimated at $235,000 with an insurance of $179,000.
   The cause of the fire is a mystery. The men went to work after supper and all seemed right then. Soon afterward Jacob Ziehl the night watchman, while making his usual rounds, discovered flames making way up through the floor. He had barely time to give an alarm, when he was surrounded by the flames, but he succeeded in making the danger known to the men on the fourth, fifth and sixth floors,
   ROCHESTER, N. Y., Nov. 11.—Friday's fire was the worst that ever occurred in this city. At least twelve lives were lost and twenty injured. The pecuniary loss will amount to $250,000. The Union and Advertiser this morning started a subscription list for the benefit of the fire sufferers with $100. In an hour $1,200 had been subscribed. The Republicans who intended to have a parade in honor of Harrison have decided not to have it but to donate the money such a celebration would cost to the sufferers. Several men who won on election have offered half their winnings for the benefit of the injured and the families of the dead.
   Three more bodies have been taken from the ruins of the lantern works' building. They were burned to a crisp so that it was impossible to recognize them.
   A gang of forty men was set to work this morning excavating in the debris of the Steam Gauge and Lantern works fire of Friday night. At six o'clock this evening another gang was set to work. About nine o'clock this evening two more charred bodies were taken from the ruins, making eleven so far as known to have been killed.
   The killed are John Gall, John Dauser, C. A. Oaks, John Martin, John Greenover, four unknown. There are so far twenty one known to be missing. In blowing up the walls with dynamite this morning about twenty five feet of double fire wall toppled over on the adjoining building and crushed the roof and the six floors into the sub-basement. The walls were left standing. The damage will amount to about $25,000.
   LATER—Up to Thursday morning thirty-four bodies had been taken from the ruins.

Another Woman Found Dead and Brutally Mutilated.
   LONDON, NOV. 9.—Another horrible murder has taken place in the East End. A woman's body, hacked and cut into pieces, was found this morning in Dorset street. The police are endeavoring to track the murderer with bloodhounds.
   The body was mutilated in a manner similar to the bodies of the women previously murdered. The victim of the Spitalfields murder was, like the rest of the Whitechapel victims, an abandoned woman. She had a husband who was a porter, but she lived with him only at times. Her name is believed to be Lizzie Foster and she was nicknamed Mary Jane [Kelly]. As she entered the house where she lodged by means of a latchkey, probably no one saw the man who accompanied her. Hence it is doubtful if the murderer is ever identified. The man might easily have left the house at any time between the hours of one and six without attracting any especial attention.
   The physicians who viewed the corpse reserve their statements for the inquest which will follow. The appearance of the remains is frightful, and the mutilation was even greater than in the previous cases. The head had been severed from the body and placed beneath one of the arms. The ears and nose had been cut off. The body was disemboweled and the flesh was torn from the thighs. The forehead and cheeks had been completely skinned and one hand was pushed into the stomach.



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