Hotel Fire Causes Two Deaths
Fire in the sub-basement of the twelve story Hotel Marguery at Madison Avenue and 47th Street, New York City, early in January indirectly resulted in the loss of two lives and considerable damage to the stock and contents of the antique furniture show room of Thonet Bros., a firm that has been in business for seventy-five years in New York.
The show room 200 x 200 was filled with furniture on display. In the rear of the sub-basement a salesman saw flames at about 8.15 o’clock in the evening. A telephone call brought Engine Co. 65 and Ladder 2 on a still alarm. Capt. William J. Fiala of the engine company ordered the street box snapped upon arrival. The sub-basement is directly above the tracks of the New York Central Lines where they enter the Grand Central Terminal. The electric light and power services in the hotel are supplied from the conduits of the New York Central Railroad terminal.
The fire, of undetermined origin, had extended to nearly the entire area of the sub-basement. There was an explosion which blew out one of the fronts of a store on the 48th Street side of the building, where it was evident that some concentration, either gas or smoke banked up and finally let go. At all events the fire fighting officials ordered the electric current turned off, lest other serious consequences take place. This “killed” the elevator service in the hotel, the guests of which by that time were scrambling out of the hostelry because of the smoke penetrating the building. An aged woman who had been ill but convalescing was aided down nine stories via stairway. But the exertion was too much—it proved fatal.
In one of the elevators marooned between floors was its operator but, fortunately, none of the guests were trapped with him. The smoke caused him to succumb. The members of Engine Co. 65 endured a terrific ordeal but they managed to spell off and see it through. The hotel contained some of New York City’s foremost business and professional men. The hotel is principally used by families rather than transients.