Panic on Fire Escape Hinders Rescues

Panic on Fire Escape Hinders Rescues

Fire spread rapidly through an oldlaw tenement at 455 West 53rd Street, New York City, and as the screaming Spanish and negro tenants came rushing down the tire escape, with huge boxes of their belongings, the firemen had a difficult time.

Two Views of the Fire Upper, excited tenants fleeing down the fire escape. Note the barrel at the right of the lowest platform. Lower, firemen look over the damage to the dumbwaiter shaft, which is still smoldering.

Several tenants ran back to bring down dogs or other belongings. One woman placed a wooden barrel on the escape and threw all her belongings into it. It may have been her intention to throw the barrel to the street.

All this panic on the fire escapes hindered the firemen in stretching in lines. Through a little strategy, the excited tenants were convinced that the danger was over and the smoke billows had disappeared. For a while, these people thought that everything they owned was going up in flames.

The account of the fire and the photographs were supplied by William Kerries, who arrived in time to witness the rapidly moving events.

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