THE FATAL PATENT FIRE ESCAPE.
A press dispatch from Pittsburgh, Pa., of Tuesday last describes as follows a sad accident which occurred during the test of a new patent fire escape:
On Tuesday morning Attorney Sinsziebough, a patent lawyer, introduced to Proprietor Griscom of the Monongahela House H. C. Wilson, the owner of the patent on a new fire escape. Wilson registered, and asked permission to test the escape on the house. His request was granted, and all day Tuesday people were descending on it from Wilson’s room on the filth floor to the sidewalk. The escape was a simple contrivance, consisting of a long rope passing through a pulley, within which was an arrangement regulating the speed with which the rope descended. No matter what the weight the descent was no faster. The descending person tied the rope under his arms and swung from the window, going down easily. The pulley was fastened to a bar placed across the window on the inside. The rope used was less than half an inch in diameter, and was by many thought to be unsafe. Those who descended on Tuesday numbered many heavy men.
This afternoon the fire escape men secured three boys who were watching the proceedings, and by giving them five cents each induced them to go down on it. The boys were James McCune, aged fourteen years; John Dudley, aged fifteen, and Daniel Nagle, aged fifteen. Ascending to Wilson’s room the rope was passed under their arms. When all three had been securely fastened they were carefully swung from the window and started to descend. They had gone but a few feet when there came a snap, the rope parted close to the pulley, and the boys were dashed to the sidewalk, seventy feet below.
The crowd watching the affair was sickened by the accident, and for an instant stood appalled. Then the unconscious boys were disentangled from the blood-stained rope and laid carefully on the pavement. Two had fallen on their heads, and though still breathing were seen to be dying. Daniel Nagle, the other and youngest boy, had fallen on top of his companions, saving his life for a time.
Dudley and McCune were dead when the police patrol arrived. Wilson was arrested, and when searched an open knife was found on him. It is thought he contemplated suicide, as he was apparently crazed by the accident.