INVENTOR TESLA BURNED OUT.
BY a fire which almost completely gutted the six-story and basement building at 33 and 35 South Fifth avenue, New York, early last Wednesday morning, Nicola Tesla, the electrician, lost all of the apparatus with which he has been carrying on his professional experiments. Among the things destroyed were several nearly completed inventions which were intended to revolutionize electric lighting.
Mr. Tesla occupied the entire fourth floor. When the floor, gave way his aparatus fell to the second floor where it lies in unrecognizable ruin. It is not insured. Other occupants of the building lost about $60,000 and the owner of the building lost about $40,000.
The Are was discovered at 2:30 o’clock. The watchman had left the ottlce on the ground floor just before that hour to bank the fires in the subccllar, leaving a single gas jet burning. In about ten minutes he returned and found flames running along the floor and up the sides of the partition of the office. He shouted and a policeman ran to his assistance, but as they could not cheek the flameless they sent in an alarm.
Before Chief Reilly with Engine 33 reached the Are the flames had spread to the first, and second floors, and were shooting to the top of the building through the stair ways, airshaft, and elevator well. From top to bottom the building was saturated with machine oils, and this ignited with great rapidity. Chief Reilly at once sent in a third alarm. Chief Bonner was soon on the scene with about a dozen engines and trucks.
The Laurens lodging house stands next door at 37 South Fifth avenue. The firemen turned its 150 men occupants into the street and carried the hose to the roof of the building. The occupants of the Italian tenement houses in the vicinity were also turned out of their homes. The firemen fought the flames for fully three hours before they were under control. The Sixth avenue elevated road was blocked in the mean time, the firemen using its structure to work from.
It was not until 8 o’clock that the recall for the engines was sounded. The walls and framework of the building were still standing, but the north side of the structure was so badly cracked that the tenants of the nearest houses were ordered out again for fear that it would fall.
Inventor Tesla, who lives at the Gcrlach Hotel, was almost prostrated when he heard the news, shortly before breakfast time. He has been for some time in a state of nervousness bordering on exhaustion because of^overwork. He went to the scene of the conflagration, where lie gazed mournfully up at the fourth floor of the building. Later, in company with a fireman, lie went up to the second floor and looked at the ruins of his work.
Tesla is a Seerian. He came to this country ten years ago, and was associated for a short time with Thomas A. Edison. He has received honorary decrees from Yale and Columbia Colleges, and is the controlling electrical engineer to the Niagara Power Company and many other concerns.
Since he has been in the building at South Fifth avenue he has worked with about a dozen assistants in a verv secretive manner. It was understood that he was working on inventions intended to save much of the energy now lost in electric lighting. It is well known to electricians that about ninety-six percent, of the energy used to produce iueandescaiit lights now goes to waste,and he has said that he hopes to save one-third of the loss,