NARROW ESCAPE OF CHIEF CROKER. On Thursday morning last as Chief Croker, Deputy Chief Guerin and a large contingent of the New York city fire department were working on a fire at 159 Maiden lane, Manhattan, an explosion took place which lifted the roof, tore out the front of the building and shook down most of the west and rear walls. Chief Croker and Deputy Chief Guerin received severe contusions and abrasions on the head and arms. Four firemen were similarly hurt, two having to be taken to Hudson Street hospital and two to their homes. Twenty-four were attended by surgeons and continued at work. The loss will be at least $50,000. Fire Chief John Gee succeeds himself as head of the fire department of Brownwood, Tex.