Four Firemen Killed.
Early Monday afternoon there was a terrific explosion in the elevator shaft of the Fort Orange Milling Company’s building, facing on the river front and backing on the Erie Canal basin at Albany, N. Y. The sparks set fire to the grain and flour. In an instant the flames had rushed up the elevator shafts, and before an alarm was sent in the entire structure was one mass of flames. Charles B. Woolverton, a member of the firm, was in the office at the time, and before he could get out was burned in a most horrible manner. In two hours the fire was under control, the loss being about $75,000. Shortly afttr six o’clock, Foreman C. E. Marshall of Engine 4, and six of his men wero slushing the debris under an archway. Some of the men were just within the archway, while Marshall, J.S. Whitnell and Fred Bamer were just outside the line, but in a position to see how things were going inside. At 6.20 the wall, unnoticed in the gloom, had probably been slowly settling, when suddenly the upper half gave way and fell with a tremendous crash inward and directly upon J. W. Bridgeford, Bamer and F. Amthor. With the echo and amid the dust of the crash, the lower half of the wall forced outward also fell with a crash catching Marshall, J. M. Shattuck, Wnitnell and Bamer just as they turned to flee for their lives. Shattuck had not cleared the arch when the hurling mass came down, burying his comrades from view. His legs were caught in the debris and he was pinned against the pier of the arch almost suffocated by the clouds of dust. Fred Bamer was more fortunate than the others for as he turned, he sprang outward and was only caught by some of the scattering debris. Chief Higgins was just coming out of No. 80 with the intention of ordering No. 4’s men home, as the crash came, and realizing the dire extent of the calamity, he at once sounded the note of alarm to his men, who rushed to the rescue. In another instant a score of men were working with unabated effort to free their comrades, and James M. Shattuck was soon released from his perilous position, His feet and legs were badly cut and bruised, but not broken. As they released Shattuck, groans in his immediate vicinity attracted the attention of the workers, and examination showed Whitnell’s head and shoulders visible in the heap of brick. The weight upon his body, pinning him down, was speedily removed. He was carried to the ambulance, and after stimulants had been administered he revived so as to be able to talk. One leg was broken. The bodies of Foreman Marshall and Bernard Bamer were uncovered at about the same time. Bamer, though badly crushed, recovered consciousness and displayed heroic fortitude. His face was like a mask of blood and dirt, but his eyes were bright and his voice was strong. When his body was half uncovered it was found that he was pinioned by a piece of timber. An effort to dislodge this caused him to groan with pain, and he ordered all work to stop until he should direct what to do. Having requested. something to be put under his bach, and had one leg released, he clinched his teeth as the remaining debris was removed and he was lifted from the pile. Dr. Neuman of the hospital staff placed him on a stretcher and took him to the ambulance. He was immediately conveyed to the hospital, where he died at I o’clock. The body of Foreman Marshall was found wrapped in his rubber coat. His stalwart physique and handsome features were crushed and broken. He was lying face downward near the pier between the first and second arches. His face was bent under his chest, lying partially on one side. His hands were doubled up under him. He was a strong man in his lifetime, and his bent position showed that he had made an effort apparently to resist the crushing weight and had been forced headlong to the ground. When he was lifted up from where he lay and turned over, his face presented a shocking sight, it was so cruelly crushed. Bridgeford’s body was next uncovered. The indications were that he had been killed instantly. He lay near where Bamer was found, and when taken out it appeared as though every bone in his body was broken. Examination showed that in addition to other injuries, his neck and both legs were broken. His body was removed to the home of his parents on Second street. The last body known to be in the ruins, that of Fredeiick Amthor, was uncovered at 9.30 o’clock. It was found to be horribly crushed and death was instantaneous.
On Tuesday morning a relief fund for the widows and orphans of the dead was organized by the merchants of the city, and already over $2000 has been subscribed. S. S. B.
ALBANY, N. Y., December 20.