New York Tenement Fire.
Once more the list of deaths by fire in New York city, too long by far, considering that only four months of the year have passed, has received a terrible increase, with probably more victims to be added. A tenement house No. 37 Spring street, between Mulberry and Mott streets, in the very heart of Manhattan’s most congested Italian district, was set on fire by a member of that Black-Hand gang, which the police and detectives seem to be unable to root out. A grocer on the ground floor had received the accustomed summons to make a large payment to the miscreants or to suffer the penalty. He had failed to do so, with the result that rags soaked in kerosene oil were set fire to in the basement, while the stairways up to the third or fourth floor had been plentifully drenched with the same stuff. The house is a narrow, 6-story, brick structure, in which twenty-one families lived, with their lodgers numbering at least 150 persons. The fire was started about 2:30 a. m. and the smoke was first noticed by a policeman, who turned in an 3,.rm an^ then ran to the stationhouse and called out the reserves, returning to the scene to find the smoke and flame issuing from the w.”h»ws of the third and fourth floors The “,l:b!2meared starw:y had afforded the flames Jy means of reaching the upper floors. mushrooming as they mounted and cutting off all means of exit to the street, except by the front and rear fire escapes, and these were cluttered up with boxes and other litter. A number of the inmates, especially the men, forced their way through the panicstricken people and monopolised the fire escapes, blocking the firemen’s way up the ladders.
Many of those left behind were women and very young children, whom the flames and the smoke hemmed in and cut off from the doors and windows. Mothers in their desperation threw their little ones to the street; some were caught by the police and bystanders; but three dashed down on tile sidewalk and were killed. Others were burned to death or suffocated. Nine were known to have perished; several were missing; and over a dozen received injuries from which some must die. All escape by the roof on the east side of the burning house was impossible, as on that side was a 3-story structure, and it was not any better on the west, where the adjoining roof was that of a 4-story house. The whole tenement was gutted; the stairway was burned away; and the loss foi was $10,000.