A Fire Scene in Broadway.
At five o’clock Tuesday afternoon when the mixture of snow, sleet and rain was driving down in criss-cross shape under a gale of wind at the corner of Fulton street and Broadway, two alarms of fire sounded. The first was sent in by Officer A. H. Rowley of the Broadway squad, from the corner of Vesey street and Broadway, and before the firemen had left their houses another one sounded from the box at Church and Fulton streets.
Broadway was jammed with people. The big downtown office buildings were turning out their thousands of busy workers. More thousands were hurrying from the buildings further up on their way to the downtown ferries. The two streams met and jostled each other in the blinding storm. It was already dark, and the glare of the gas lamps and electric lights, blurred by the mist, confused everybody who was in a hurry. Trucks, grocery wagons, cabs, coupes and horse cars were interlocked in a seemingly inextricable jumble in the middle of the street. The drivers, in tarpaulins, with hats pulled down to shade their eyes from the lights overhead, were yelling and swearing.
Clang ! clang ! rang out the gongs on the hose carriages and trucks. Ding-a-ling a-ling ! rattled the bells on the fire patrol wagons. Down Broadway they came, through Fulton and up Broadway. Sparks were flying from the engines and the horses’ hoofs. The truck horses began to rear. Some of them plunged madly in a wild effort to get out of the way, and their drivers howled in alarm and anger. The tangled lines of pedestrians blocked the passage either way. Policemen crowded to the scene and helped to add to the confusion with their orders to “ Clear the track 1”
‘ ‘ Where’s the fire ?” 5000 people in a bunch asked in one breath.
Smoke curling from the top of The Evening Post and the Knox buildings suggested flames there, but it was only congested steam. How it was done no one could tell. The yelling firemen jumped into the crowd, the police shoved and pushed, the trucks got disentangled and crammed the side streets, and the long hook and ladder carriages and the engines were in charge of the field. The fire was only a little blaze after all, but it was in a dangerous neighborhood and on a bad night. Somehow it broke out in one of the ground floor rooms of the new Mail and Express building, and was put out with about $2 damage.