Thursday, July 14, 2011

Investigating Fire, Prial Sees Whitman,

July 2, 1913, New York Times,"Investigating Fire, Prial Sees Whitman,"

Marshal Goes to the District Attorney's Office with His Greenwich Street Report.
No Evidence, Marshal Says, That Fire Was Incendiary, but Investigation Will Be Continued.

Investigation into the fire which destroyed the three-story-and-attic brick lodging house at 66 Greenwich Street on Monday night, causing the death of six persons and the more or less serious injury of fifteen others, was begun yesterday by Fire Marshal John P. Prial and two of his assistants. The sixth victim was Charles Ducheimer, who died yesterday in the Volunteer Hospital.

With the identification yesterday afternoon of two more of the bodies, there remain only two unidentified victims of the fire. The identifications of a woman and little girl were made by the Rev. J.W. Sutton, one of the Stewards of Trinity Church. Mr. Sutton said they were those of Mrs. David and her eleven-year-old daughter Minnie, who lived at 66 Greenwich Street.

Fire marshal Prial told a TIMES reported that he was still unable to explain the cause of the fire.

"No evidence has been obtained which would lead me to believe that the fire was incendiary," he said. "The investigation will be continued."

Fire Marshal Prial was informed by people living near the lodging house, run by Mrs. Lenze, that she had a disagreement recently with her husband, and that she had driven him from her home. The Fire Marshal said also that he had been informed that not less than sixty persons, for the most part Poles, who intended to sail on one of the Hamburg-American line vessels for their homes in the old country yesterday, were sleeping in the lodging house when the fire started.

Most of the lodgers, whose egress was cut off when the fire blocked the head of the stairway, escaped by crossing over to the Ninth Avenue elevated railroad tracks on ladders put across to them by Sergts. Walsh and Morris and Patrolman Darrow of the Greenwich Police Station. Other ladders were run up to the entrapped lodgers by the firemen of Engine Company 6 and Truck Company 10. A few of those who did not make their escape this way got out of the building by way of the fire escape, while a dozen or more on the second floor dropped to the street, suffering no serious injuries. At least thirty of the survivors, none of them speaking English, were taken in patrol wagons to the Municipal Lodging House.

The dying and injured were attended by surgeons from the Volunteer, Hudson Street, and Gouverneur Hospitals. Five ambulances were on hand during the early part of the fire, and in these the victims were quickly removed to the hospitals.

Fire Marshal Prial went to the office of the District Attorney yesterday afternoon. He was unwilling to discuss the meaning of his visit there, as likewise were the officials in the office of District Attorney.

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