FATAL FIRE IN A MANHATTAN WAREHOUSE.
When the George S. Hill’s paper warehouse at 54 Roosevelt street, Manhattan, New York, was burned, three firemen were buried under tons of smoking paper and debris. It was thought all had perished, and all the next day the firemen were doing their best to recover the bodies. One was found early in the forenoon; the others were still to be sought. At 6:30 p. m., however, one of those busy in the work suddenly heard a faint knocking on a beam far away amid the smoking rubbish, nearly twenty-four hours after it had fallen on the firemen. Instantly scores of volunteer rescuers, many of them firemen on their day off. hurried to save him. As soon as possible a 12-ft. rubber tube was worked through the debris to the intombed man, John C. Seufert, of engine company No. 32, and communication established with him. Whisky and coffee were poured down the tube to the imprisoned man, and he called back that he had been greatly strengthened by it. He said he was held down by the legs and could not move, but was otherwise all right, he thought. He received absolution through the tube from Father Smith, the department chaplain, who was summoned, and afterwards joked with his rescuers, who cheered him and bade him keep up his nerve and that they would soon have him out. A roofing of timber had fallen in such a manner as to keep the debris from crushing him, and yet to deprive him of all power of moving himself. He was in a kneeling posture, with his head bent forward. a beam across his legs and a large piece of boarding behind his hack, which held back the stinking, smoking, burned paper, whose damp fumes every moment threatened to suffocate him. By a little after 1 o’clock a. m., nearly twenty-nine hours after he had been buried in the ruins and after all had thought him dead (his wife had ordered her mourning and the undertaker made arrangements for his funeral), he was rescued, safe, and, barring accidents, likely to live for many wars. How difficult the work of rescue was may be imagined, when, for some hours before, only two firemen could work at a time, and the dirt from the tunnel by which they reached him had to he removed a handful at a time for fear of bringing down upon his head the whole mass that lay above him. The body of Fireman Campbell was found not far from where Seufert had been pinned down. He had been crushed to death and had died instantly. His body was not even scorched.
[Next week will appear an illustrated article by a specialist on Seufert’s escape from his imprisonment under the debris.]