Interior Had Been Previously Stripped, Subsequent to Demolition — Built Eighty-Six Years Ago—Fireman Injured

THREE alarms were sounded at about 11 a.m., on August 23 for a fire which burned the old Unitarian Church of All Souls, which had stood for eighty-six years at the corner of Twentieth Street and Fourth Avenue. New York City. The structure had been abandoned by the congregation in 1929, and it had not been occupied as a place of worship since that time. It was said that unemployed men had been permitted to sleep in the old building of late, and that during the past few months four alarms of fire had been turned in.

New York Firemen Fighting Blaze in Abandoned Structure of All Souls Unitarian Church Building was in process of demolition to give place to an apartment hotel, and the interior woodwork had been torn out.

The first indication of fire was given by smoke pouring from the windows of the building, and the alarms brought a response of eighteen companies, under the command of Acting Chief John Davin. The men threw streams into the interior of the building through the doors and also worked from the vantage point of the surrounding structures. A standpipe in the fifteen-story building at 239-243 Fourth Avenue was utilized to throw a powerful stream on the blaze. Fire Commissioner Dorman, who was present at the fire, expressed himself as pleased at the manner in which the fire fighting was handled. 1 raffic on Fourth Avenue was held up and thirty policemen were employed in rerouting the stream of autos, taxis and ti ucks around the fire area.

A fireman was injured when a sharp piece ot slate irom the roof of the church fell and cut his hand; Ten firemen also were in peril in the parish house adjoining the church, which they entered, thinking it was a separate structure. I he wall dividing it from the church, however, had been partly cut away, and the men on the upper floors had a narrow escape from being suffocated by the smoke which seeped through the aperture. They were forced to retreat down ladders.

The church had been the house of worship of many celebrated persons, among whom were Peter Cooper, William Cullen Bryant. Dorman G. Eaton, foseph Choate and later, George F. Baker. The late banker gave $100,000 to the building fund and his son presented the church with the interest on a sum borrowed for a building fund, said to he $400,000. This interest was estimated to amount to over $100,000. The structure was of Byzantine architecture and had stood as a landmark on its site for many years.


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