Two More Hotels of Bon-Fire Construction Destroyed
Gedney Farms, While Plains, N. Y., and Del Monte, Monterey, Cal., Go Up in Smoke Under Similar Conditions—Fires of the Week
THE destruction of two huge hotels within a week of each other, situated at opposite sides of the continent, and each with losses considerably over the million dollar mark, occurred late last month. There was in many respects a remarkable similarity in these two fires. Both of the buildings involved were huge rambling structures, constructed, as so many of the hotels of this type are, of flimsy and inflammable material. There are no end of hotels of this description scattered throughout the country built in the last decade or before, with long corridors to increase the draft and add to the quick burning nature of the structures, and these, when once a fire starts, are the terror of the firemen, as there is little chance of saving them from destruction. In both cases, too, the fires occurred at hours when many of the guests had retired and these were compelled to flee in scant attire and leave many of their valuables behind them. Another remarkable feature was the fact that in spite of the untimely hour at which the fires occurred there was no loss of life and no one was injured.
The first of the two hotel fires referred to occurred on September 20. starting at 9 o’clock p. m., in the Gedney Farms Hotel, a large stucco structure just outside of White Plains, N. Y. The hotel had originally been built for a country club, but at the time of the fire was occupied by some 150 guests, who were compelled to flee with what belongings they could collect. The fire department of White Plains, under Chief H. Abbott Griffen, was compelled to call for help from several of the neighboring fire departments, and then little could be done to save the big rambling structure as it was a mass of flames and the water pressure was hardly sufficient to send a stream to the first story.
The hotel was practically destroyed, only a small portion of one wing being saved. The loss was estimated at $1,200.000.
The second fire was in the Hotel Del Monte, on the outskirts of Monterey. Cal., and one of the most famous and exclusive resorts on the Pacific Coast. The cause of this fire, which took place in the early hours of September 27, was undetermined. It was discovered at 3:15 a. m. Carl Stanley, manager, summoned bis staff of servants and employes and they ran from room to room, calling guests who poured out, bringing with them such personal possessions and clothing as they could snatch in their hasty flight.
Half an hour after the fire started the main building was entirely enveloped in flames. Two hours later it was pronounced a total loss, placed in money at a million dollars.
By 5:30 a. m. fire fighters were devoting all their efforts to saving the wings and surrounding buildings.
The wings of the hotel were saved by two heavy explosions of dynamite, which tore out the narrow passageways connecting them with the main building. The dynamite was rushed to the scene from the Presidio of Monterey.
The Monterey and Pacific Grove fire departments arrived in time to save the wings, after a hard light. The hotel management estimated the value of the structure and furnishings of the main building at $2,000,000, of which $1,000,000 was covered by insurance.
A check among guests and members of the hotel staff indicated that the loss of personal effects would reach $1,000,000 additional.