A FIREMAN’S PERIL.
The thrilling experience of Patrick J. Lynch, of Engine Company No. 11, at the Cannon street fire last week, in his efforts to save the lives of the inmates is illustrative of the dangers to which our Firemen are constantly exposed. It also shows the pluck and daring possessed by the Firemen, as well as the moral courage that induces them so frequently to go forward to seemingly certain death to save the lives of others. Lynch is a young man, 28 years of agefand has been but one year in the Department. When his Company arrived at the burning building, Lynch was busy in getting ready for work, when his attention was called to a woman’s cry coming from the third-story window. He looked up and saw a woman in her night-clothes holding a little girl in her hands. The woman was frantic from fear, and the flames piercing through the windows below gave to her pale face a ghastly appearance which was terrible to see. It was Mrs. Burbischel and her daughter Mary. Lynch stretched out his arms and called to the agonized woman to drop the child. She tottered for a moment in indecision, but finally her grasp loosened and the girl fell, through the smoke and the flames, into the outstretched arms of the brave Fireman. Little Mary was not hurt; her hair was scarcely singed. The woman peered down, and seeing that her daughter was safe, left the window. She returned almost instantly with the little boy, John, and he, too, was safely launched into the outstretched arms of Fireman Lynch. Then the brave man, calling upon her to be of good cheer, plunged into the dense smoke which filled the passage-way, mounted the first flight of stairs, and, fighting his way through the flames, rushed up the burning stairway leading to the second floor. Tragical scenes were being enacted in the meantime on the fourth, or upper, floor of the house. Precisely what took place during those terrible minutes in those two little rooms in which a whole family, with an aged mother and grandmother, were huddled together, will never be known, for there were no witnesses to their despairing struggles. The gallant Lynch, meantime, had penetrated to the third floor, where he encountered Mrs. Burbischel, who had fled from her room into the hallway and was peering down into the flames, which had eaten their way through the door of the Cohens’ rooms and were mounting the wooden stairway. Lynch grasped her by the arm and told her he would try to save her. The woman was fairly crazy. She broke from the friendly hands that held her and rushed back wildly into her rooms. She ran to the window of the front room, stood wavering for a moment, and then, climbing to the sill, jumped to the pavement below. Her fall was about 30 feet. She struck on the back of her head, and was not immediately killed. Lynch, when the woman broke from him, was so blinded by the smoke that he could not see where she went. He thought she had gone to the top floor to escape through the scuttle, which he naturally supposed would be found in the roof. He was weak and exhausted, and seriously burned about the arms and face. But he struggled on to the fourth floor. Here he found another woman on the landing. He grasped her and tiied to induce her to follow him, but the old lady broke from him and disappeared. He tried 10 open the doors, but all were locked. Then he gave up the fruitless task of saving others, and tried to save himself. He sought in vain tor a scuttle, but there was no scuttle. Finally, he found a window, and, bursting it open, reached the fire escape. There is a small iron ladder reaching from the fire escape to the ground, but in his bewilderment Lynch did not see it. He grasped the gutters of the root and drew himself up. Here he was met by a policeman and taken through the scuttle of the next house to the street, and thence to the station-house. Though evidently suffering intense pain, lie uttered no groans, and his sole cause ol anxiety seemed to be that he had lost his cap in the building. The injuries he received necessitated h;s being sent to the hospital, where he was confined tor several days.
Such are the incidents as related by the daily press. The lact that life was sacrificed at this fire saved to give more than usual prominence 10 the work of the Firemen. As a matter ol fact, however, there is not a day passes that some of the men are not exposed to risks quite as great as those et countered by Lvnch. There is this (litierence, however, that while Lynch, actuated by the noblest of impulses, lushed boldly into danger, the peril th Firemen ordinarily encounter comes in the line ol their duty. There are the dangers of tall ng walls, of crashirg timbers, of being precipitated down hatchways, of over-loaded floors lalhng in upon them, ol unexpected explosions of unsuspected compounds, and the thousand arid one penis that are necessarily incident to every fire of magnitude. While it is pleasing to see the life-saving efforts ol such heroes as Lynch recognized by the public, we should be glad to see a better recognition ot the dangers of the Fire Service on the part of the press and the public. It is a hard, laborious, perilous and thankless service, performed by as brave and courageous a body of men as ever fought for the preservation of the lives, property or liberties of the people. In paying tribute to the courage and dating ol the brave Lynch, let us not forget the daily peril incurred in like heroic manner by his comrades in the Fire Department.