DEATH IN A NEW YORK FIRE TRAP.
FIRE broke out on Monday morning, from some unknown cause, on the third floor of the Elberop, a five-story brick apartment house on the corner of Madison avenue and Eighty-fifth street, New York, and quickly ran up the elevator shaft to the two upper stories. Upon its discovery the families occupying the second and third floors escaped, although with difficulty, the halls being filled with smoke. The first and fourth floors were vacant, but on the fifth lived a family named Westlake, consisting of a mother, daughter and two sons, with their old colored servant. They were either asleep or dressing when the fire broke out, and when at last the smoke was discovered found that their escape by the stairway was entirely cut off. There were no fire escapes on the building, so that they could only stand at the windows and cry for help.
Meanwhile, someone had given the alarm at the house of Engine Company No. 22, on Eighty-fifth street, near Third avenue. From the door of the house the firemen could see the burning building, from every window of which smoke was pouring, and the engine was rushed to the spot. Seeing the Westlake family at the windows of the fifth floor. Assistant Foreman Quirk ordered a third alarm sent out, and knowing that no truck company with sufficiently long ladders could arrive In time to be of service in the emergency, seized a scaling ladder and climbed to the fifth floor, two or three other menj^ers of the company following him as far as the third story. Quirk managed to get down with one of the Westlake boys as far as the fourth floor, but the volume of smoke belching through the windows was so dense that he lost hold of his scaling ladder, which fell. The life-saving net was quickly spread beneath them, and both jumped into it, but rebounded to the sidewalk, and were severely injured, Quirk breaking an arm and hurting his spine. From the third story the other firemen then jumped into the net, escaping unhurt. Next Miss Westlake dropped from the wi ,dow sill to which she had been clinging, but struck a ladder before reaching the net, and was badly injured, and finally the other son made his leap, and was caught in the net, and his life saved, though he too was somewhat hurt by rebounding and falling on the stones.
Shortly after a hook and ladder truck arrived, ladders were raised, and the men swarmed up to the rescue of the mother of the family, who could be seen partly hanging out of a window, but before they could reach her she fell, and was crushed on the pavement. It was afterward found that she had already met her death from suffocation. Two or three of the other inmates of the house were more or less badly burned, and one severely hurt by falling on the stairs. The house was entirely gutted above the first story. It had been built before the passage of the ordinance requiring fire escapes on apartment houses arranged for one family on each floor.
To the Editor of FIRE AND WATER ;
In your very interesting article on the “6—6—6 ” call you refer to six occasions upon which this signal has been used during the history of the paid department, before the first of January last.
At a large fire in Canal street several years ago, at about 4.30 A. M., 6__6—6—10—341—145 was sent over the wires, and, If I remember rightly, the three six call was also used by Capt. Meagher of Truck 3 at a fire on the corner of Sixth avenue and Twenty-third street last winter.
SYRACUSE, N. Y., March 19. HAMILTON L. WHITE.
WHO IS THE OLDEST ACTIVE FIREMAN IN SERVICE?
To settle a dispute, please inform me through your journal which city has the oldest fireman, or in other words, the fireman longest in service. Patrick Early, driver of No. 8 hose cart of this city, has been in actual service thirty-three years this month—twenty-two years in the paid department and eleven years asa volunteer. JOHN J. HACKETT,
TOLEDO, Ohio, March 2r. Member Fire Committee.
THREE RAILROAD DISASTERS.
Three serious railroad accidents occurred on Friday and Saturday last. Near Binghamton, N. Y,, early on Friday morning an East-bound train on the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western railroad jumped the track and was wrecked, injuring about thirty persons, some of them fatally. Among the latter was David Gray of Buffalo, secretary of the City Park Commission and formerly editor of The Buffalo Courier, who died on Sunday. The wreck took fire from an overturned stove, but the wounded were rescued, though with difficulty, before the flames reached them. On the same day, on the Harlem railroad, near Sharon, N. Y., five engines and a snow-plow plunged into a heavy, thickly packed snow drift, and piled up in a confused mass of wreckage, killing four men and injuring five others. Near Blackshear, Ga., on the Savannah, Florida and Western railroad, on Saturday morning the Florida vestibule train from Washington and the North, went through a trestle and was completely wrecked. About twenty persons are reported killed and over thirty injured. The baggage car took fire, but the flames were put out before they reached the crowded passenger cars. Besides these, there have been several minor accidents resulting in loss of life during the past week.
THE AQUEDUCT BOARD AHEAD.
The temporary injunction granted by Justice Barrett, restraining the aqueduct commissioners from awarding or executing the contract for the construction of section No. 16 of the new aqueduct, was dissolved on Tuesday by the same judge, sitting in the Supreme Court Special Term. After L. I.aflin Kellogg, representing Mr. Ebling, and Corporation Counsel Beekman had finished their arguments begun last Friday. E. T. Lovatt presented affidavits of O’Brien & Clark that none of the commissioners had any interests in the contracts, and denying all charges of collusion and bad faith on their part or on the part of the commissioners. The judge, in deciding the question, said : “ It will not be necessary for me to take the papers in the case. I think there are certain legal principles upon which I can dispose of this motion. The application, it seems to me, is entirely premature. It proceeds as though the commissioners had acted and had awarded the contract to O’Brien & Clark, and as though a taxpayer (Mr. Ebling) at that stage of the matter, deeming that waste had been committed and the commissioners had acted in bad faith or fraudulently, was seeking to set aside the contract or restrain its expenditure.The law permits commissioners to reject all bids which may be presented to them. It permits them to accept whatever bid they think will produce the greatest efficiency of the public service. That is the policy upon which this particular public work is being constructed under legislative authority. The court has no power, sitting as a Court of Equity, to lin.it the range of selection on the part of these commissioners. . . . . All we know is that the commissioners have awarded these contracts in a manner which may possibly be amenable to the charge of favoritism to this firm. Yet on the other hand it may well be said that, although it might seem to be favoritism, the aqueduct commissioners have exercised their sound judgment for what they deemed to be the highest efficiency of the public service. For all these reasons, the injunction should be dissolved.”