FATAL FIRE IN NEW YORK CITY.
On Tuesday evening Acting Chief William G. Wieland, of the Fourth battalion, of the New York city fire department, was killed and a dozen other firemen were hurt or overcome by smoke at a fire in Manhattan, which caused between $200,000 and $300,000 damage, threw an entire block into confusion and wiped out at once one of the old landmarks of the lower East Side and one of its worst firetraps—all that remained of what was in former days Ridley’s big department store. Wieland was scaling a ladder to the second floor when he received his injuries. The ladder slipped and, with bis driver, Casimir Wodseki, he was precipitated to the street, fie fell on a chiffonier, which had been moved out on the sidewalk from a furniture store in the burning building. The acting chief was carried into the Federal bank on the other side of Grand street, where he was attended by Fire Department Surgeons Rogers and Hunt. He was taken to the Gouverneur hospital with three ribs broken and suffering from internal injuries. He died there at midnight. Five alarms were sent out for the blaze, which completely destroyed the five-story brick building at the corner of Grand and Orchard streets, occupied by the Van Norden Trust company and a number of business and manufacturing concerns. It kept the firemen busy for three hours before it was under control and spread to the buildings at 59-63 Orchard street, which were completely gutted by the flames, after 600 girls working in factories on the upper stories had safely escaped. Both sides of Orchard street to the south of the buildings destroyed by the fire are lined with four and fivestory double-decked tenements—all of the accustomed firetrap style and thronged with tenants, whom the police drove to the street. The lire, whose origin is not known, was first discovered at about 5 o’clock, in a loan office on the second floor. The alarm was sent in by a policeman, but it was ten minutes before the first engine arrived. By that time the old tinderbox of a building, the other half of which, on Allen street, was burned about a year ago, was all ablaze, and the fire bad rapidly spread east and west atid south. A second alarm was followed by three others, bringing twenty-two engines and two water towers to the scene, of which Chief Croker sent back several, on the ground that, while they could all have been used to advantage, the water pressure was not sufficient to carry to the top of the building, and some streams could not be thrown higher than the second floor. Several explosions of oil and varnish in the furniture store in the burning building hastened its destruction, and drove a sheet of flame its whole width across the street where all the windows were broken, but tio fire was kindled. The caving-in of the roof finished the work, but meanwhile the building 313 Grand street had caught and those in Orchard street were badly damaged, those in Orchard street particualrly. Twelve firemen were overcome by the heat and escaping gas in the cellar, and former Chief Bonner’s son. a hook and ladderman, • again distinguished himself by rescuing his comrades at his own personal peril. Two other firemen received severe cuts, which had to be stitched up on the spot—one was removed in the ambulance to his quarters. Tt took the firemen three hours to get the flames under control, and the flames were burning vividly long after midnight. Acting Battalion Chief Wieland was forty years old. He joined the department in 1890, and, after passing through the various grades, was made acting chief of the Fourth battalion four months ago. He was a roll of honor man and eight years ago was badly injured at a fire, when the prong of a falling ladder punctured one of his kidneys.
During the recent conflagration at Omaha, Neb., the local fire department, assisted by that of South Omaha, did good work by practically confining the flames to the place of origin, although the buildings destroyed stood in the midst of a number of large ones all situated close together. The steamers did splendid work, and kept the adjoining buildings so wetted down that the attacking flames had no chance to burn them. The hose wagons, were, besides, fitted with Monitor nozzles with four lines of hose attached. When the levers were manipulated, the four streams could he directed to any part of the burning buildings without necessitating the firemen holding the hose nozzles.