January 10, 1912, The New York Sun, page 1, Column 7,
Transcribed from a scan posted by fultonhistory.com of the original newspaper hardcopy:
EQUITABLE LIFE FIRE A HARD BATTLE AND A REAL DISASTER
Fire Chief and 5 Others Dead, A Billion Tied Up, Records Gone:
MILLION IN MONEY LOSS
Securities in Vaults Probaly Safe—Policy Holders Safe, Too.
100,000 POLICIES IN PERIL
Safe Deposit President Sawn Out in a Hail of Splintered Stone.
CLEARING HOUSE REMOVES
Stock Deliveries Suspended— Banks Escape—Lawyers Club and Library Gone.
Ruin by fire in a winter gale befell the Equitable Building yesterday. Six lives were lost, so far as is known; damage to property is put at a million in money, invaluable records have gone to ashes, and the wreck dwarfed by the modern buildings that neighbor it, looks out on Broadway, of which it was once the pride, like a broken windowed barn abandoned to time and the weather. It still houses in its vaults securities and cash estimated to amount to a billion of dollars, and these, it is believed, are safe. Days may pass before a complete exploration can be made. Last night the searchlights of the Singer Building were playing on the smoky ruins to help the firemen, who were trying to cool them off and to search for the body of William J. Walsh, battalion chief, and crowds pressed to the fire lines, as they had pressed all day.
Chief Walsh died carried down by a collapsing floor as he was leading his men upward toward the Lawyers Club rooms. Four employees of the Cafe Savarin who were trapped on the roof plunged to death when the flames reached them. Wlliiam Giblin. president of the Mercantile Safe Deposit Company, was in the nick of time—dragged through a window whose steel bars had been sawed through by a fireman. He left a special guard of the company dead in the basement behind him. Two men are reported missing and a score hurt.
Records of the Equitable Society, of railroad companies and other corporations, of law firms and bankruptcy hearings were destroyed. The fine law library, containing 35,000 volumes, estalished by Henry Baldwin Hyde as an inducement to lawyers to take quarters in the building, is dissipated in ashes. Some 100,000 life insurance policies upon which the Equitable had loaned money were in peril. They were in steel boxes, which may not have resisted the heat. If they are gone, as it is believed they are not, it may take legislation to reproduce them. All in all the fire tangled the affairs of corporations with vast interests.
BITTER FIGHT FOR THE FIREMEN.
The business of Wall Street was hampered for hours. Only the tremendous efforts of the New York firemen, reenforced by the Brooklyn department, saved the banking houses that surround the Equitable site. Fighting in a sixty mile northwest gale in bitter weather, the firemen beat back the conflagration that threatened early in the morning to sweep across narrow streets and seize upon the Chase National Bank, the Clearing House, the American Exchange Bank and the American Surety Company Building. The Clearing House, imperilled gravely, took quarters in the Chamber of Commerce. Nearby banks marked time, fearing destruction, their employees ready to transfer books and cash. Some did move away. For hours thousands of men employed in office buildings near the Equitable were barred by the police, who threw a stubborn guard around ten blocks. The fire brought a situation novel in New York's money centre.
ACTUAL MONEY LOSS NOT VAST.
The actual money loss was comparatively slight, provided, that is, Equitable's securities, the securities of the Gould and Harriman estates and the stocks and bonds owned by Thomas F. Ryan, Kuhn, Loeb & Co.; August Belmont & Co., Kountze Bros. and others are safe in the steel vaults where they were stored. Even the Equitable people do not mourn the building. They figured its actual value to the stock and policy holders as precisely nothing. Figuring that way the society put its loss at only $230,000 but the value of the law library is not included in the estimate. Insurance experts guessed that the loss to tenants would amount to from $400,000 to $500,000. So all told the loss was perhaps $1,000,000, perhaps less.
TERRIFIC FlRE CONDITIONS.
Wi t h out reference to the immense value of the securities kept in the vaults or the peril of the banks near by or the disturbance to business, the fire itself was in many ways the most spectacular, the most trying on the men who worked with hose and ladders that thefiremen remember. It was only after the flames had gained re-
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sistless headway and had swept through elevator and air shafts from basement to roof that the firemen, summoned from all stations in Manhattan below Fifty-niinth street and from Brooklyn (an un-precedented thing) were massed and organized for a terrific fight. They faced cold that bit to the bone. Their faces were cut by ice whirled in the gale. They toiled with scarce elbow room in narrow streets where water froze as it fell and where ice was piled in rough hummocks a foot high. Ladders slipped and came crashing down. Water towers stalled and were cemented solidly in the grip of ice.
From the cornices and ledges of the Equitable buildings great stones, cracked loose by terrific heat and freezing water, fell constantly. The men groped for the heart of the fire in a building that was pitch dark save where the flames threw lurid splashes of red and yellow. Floors gave way with little warning. Smoke roiled thick through the corridors and overpowered men who had to be dragged to safety by comrades weakened by hours of struggling. That there was not greater loss of life surprised even Chief Kenlon.The victory he won in his first big job makes one of the finest chapters in the New York Fire Department's book of fine exploits.
RESCUE OF PRESIDENT GIBLIN.
For an hour and a half these terrific conditions had been unabated when at 7:00 A. M. a white pocket-handker chief which was being waved by President William Giblin of the Mercantile Safe Deposit Company between the iron bars of the gate of the Broadway entrance to the deposit company's offices in the sunken ground floor two steps down from the Broadway sidewalk attracted the attention of a reporter who was standing with the Rev. Father McGean, a chaplain of the Fire Department, across the street from the burning building.
"There's somebody alive over there in the basement floor, father," the reporter said. Father McGean had heard no cries from the basement floor, but he had been hearing groans from floors above. He and Chief Kenlon ran across through the smoke and spray together. The stone lintels over doorways were crashing to the street all around the grill work opening. Already the dark opening was beginnng to be framed with a thick picture frame of ice. And for a background was a dull glare as the fire ate outward toward where the president of the company crouched against the locked grating beside Watchman William Campion, who was dead, and Watchman Wiliam Sheehan. whose right arm was pinned against the deadman by the fallen ceiling timbers that had killed Campion.
THREE MEN SAWED AT THE STEEL BARS.
"Fireman James Dunn of Engine 6 disobeyed orders and saved President Giblin and Sheehan. When Father McGean had heard Mr. Giblin"s confession and had been pulled away from the grill by Acting Chief Devanny a watchman named Peck came up wi th two hack saws which he had found at 115 Broadway. Peck started in with one of the saws on the bars of the door and dropped the other. President Giblin reached through the bars and got hold of this saw and started to try to help Peck cut the inch and one-half bars. Mr. Giblin worked for ten minutes or until the falling water had so chilled his hands that he had to drop the saw. Peck's saw broke. " -
There was a wait of fifteen minutes while no one came near the iron door where the deadman stood frozen to the bars and the president of the company and Watchman Sheehan called on God for help. Then Fireman Jim Dunn of Engine 6 jumped up to the grating. Jim Dunn had a saw and started in to cut the bars. Somebody, a superior officer at any rate, ran up to Dunn through the falling spray and ordered Dunn to get away from the face of the building where now big chunks of stone were smashing down more frequently.
"These two fellows are alive" yelled Dunn to his chief. "I'm going to saw them out."
"Stay, then, you fool." cried the chief and got out of range of the falling stones.
JIM DUNN FINISHED THE JOB.
For a long time then---Sheehan says it seemed about an hour, but it probably was much less---Jim Dunn sawed away. While he was working Commiddioner Johnson personally directed that a stream of water be sent in through the grating to keep back the fire, which ws creeping streetward toward where Giblin and Sheehan stood, now too cold and weak to help. The stream struck Giblin and for an instant pressed him back forcibly against the debris thast held him close to the door. And during the rest of the time the fireman was sawing the bars the stiff spray alternately was hitting Dunn and Giblin and coating them with ice.
Dunn got through a bar and found that even when it was pried to one side the imprisoned men couldn't be pulled out to the sidewalk. He patiently started at another bar. And so after an hour and a quarter of steady sawing got two bars cut through. Then he left the grill and for another ten or fifteen minutes Giblin and Sheehan waited for him to come back.
THE LIVING OUT, THE DEAD LEFT.
Dunn had left them only to get a crowbar to pry the cut bars aside. He stretched the bars to either side and reached in and got out first Mr. Giblin and then Sheehan. Campion evidently was dead and was left standing there. All forenoon and until dusk, through the spray two white blurs might be seen where his hands stuck outward through the bars.
Dunn, Father McGean and Commissioner Johnson carried Giblin and Sheehan across the street to the boiler room of the Trinity Building, where Dr.Thatcher Wotthen and Dr. Garrett of the Hudson street hospital and Dr. Girdansky of Govereur Hospital had established a relief station. In the hot boiler room the two men were stripped, rubbed down and drank a stimulant. The clothes of Giblin had to be cut to get them off because of the solid coating of ice. Fire Commissioner Johnson worked his own arms to break the coating of ice on his own coat sleeves, drew off his coat and then pulled off his sweater and drew it over the head of Mr. Giblin.
Mr. Giblin at the Hudson street hosspital was found to be suffering only from exposure and will be able to go home to-day unless a heavy cold or pneumonia results.
Sheehan suffered a broken right arm, the arm that had been pinned against Campion, which was set after he had recovered somewhat from his exposure and shock. Peck said that he had been behind the grill and had escaped through the Cedar street entrance at the first crash. Frank Neider, another watchman, was with him, but Peck does not know what became of Neider. He is down as missing.
Set down as it was at 120 Broadway, in the centre of the financial district, with great banks all around and itself the home of one of the biggest of all life insurance companies, the Equitable Building was even in present times something to be pointed out to the visitor.
Constructed after the fashion of the architecture of thirty years ago, it faced on Broadway and backed upon Nassau street. Across in the middle of narrow Cedar street stands the low marble Clearing House and the Chase National Bank. Across Cedar street is the American Exchange National Bank's tall building. Directly across Broadway are the twin buildings put up by the U.S. Realty Co. with an ecclesiastical suggestion in their carvings and traceries and housing the Columbia and Manhattan Trust Companies.
One of these, 115 Broadway, once contained the Carnegie Trust Company. A little further down, at Thames and Broadway, are the banking houses of Raymond Pynchon & Co. and S.B. Chapin & Co. South of the Equitable at Pine street and Broadway is the American Surety Building, with the Hanover National Bank at Nassau and Pine streets. And in Nassau street across from the rear of the Equitable are the Fourth National Bank and the Guardian Trust Company. All of these were in peril for several hours. Men were posted on the roofs to guard against settling brands.
COSTLY HALF HOUR'S DELAY.
The fire started in the rear of the Cafe Savarin, the celebrated bar and restaurant so long run by the Equitable itself and only severed from it after the insurance inquiry. An investigation last night by Fire Marshall John P. Prial, Assistant Fire Marshall Edward F. Croker and Assistant Fire Marshall Ledyard developed that it originated probably in a wooden staircase near the elevator shaft in the back of the cafe. A cigarette carelessly discarded was suggested by former Chief Croker as the origin; but E.E. Rittenhouse, speaking for President Day of the Equitable, said that the best information he could get was that the start was in a storeroom used by the Savarin and that there had been an explosion of gasoline. A gasoline stove was in the storeroom.
What angered the Fire Department heads and brought sharp comment from Croker was that there was an unnecessary delay of half an hour in summoning the firemen. The cooks of the Cafe Savarin had gone to work two hours before the alarm was turned in. They were on the job with fires going at 3:30 A.M. The first alarm was turned in at 5:31 A.M. People on the street knew a few minutes after 5 that there was a blaze somewhere in the Equitable and told policemen about it; but the policemen were told when they ran in and saw Equitable employees turning water into a blazing room, to go away---that the engine room crew could put out the fire without any help. That led to the delay of half an hour and gave the fire a chance to spread upward, mushroom through the top floors and get a downward start.
POLICEMEN ASKED TO GET OUT.
Sergt. Casey and Patrolan Foley were muffled to the chin at Pine and Nassau streets about 5:05 A.M. when a man wgo had run, they thought afterward, out of Equitable Building told them that the building was on fire. Casey and Foley hustled around the corner to the Pine Street side, which was occupied by the Cafe Savarin. Going through the restaurant they pushed aside flustered cooks and made their way to the rear, where they found William Davis, the chief engineer of the building, and four of his men spilling water into a small room that was thick with smoke. The room adjoined an elevatot shaft near the corner of Pine and Nassau. Davis had two linews of hose connected with the standpipe and was working desperately. He resented the intrusion of the policemen.
"What are you doing here? " he asked, according to Carey's story. "We don't need you people butting in here. We can put this out ourselves. We've got good apparatus and there are twenty men on hand to help me."
Casey didn't like the look of things. Without arguing any more with the chief engineer he walked outside with Foley and lingered near the corner. In fifteen minutes he saw flames licking out of the top floor windows. The fire was nearly to the roof. Then Casey ran to the box at Pine and Nassau and turned in the first alarm.The fire had been going fifteen minutes at least.
ROOF GAVE WAY WHEN FIREMEN CAME.
Deputy Chief Binns, head of the first division, saw the minute he jumped out of his automobile that there was a big fight ahead. Binns shot in a second alarm at 5:53 A.M. and a thirs at 6:01 A.M. That thrilled through the whole Fire Department and woke up the whole Police Department as well. Fire Chief Kenlon got to the Equitable just after the third alarm. Kenlon saw the flames flowering on the Equitable roof and sent in fourth and fifth alarms at 6:03 A.M. and 6:18 A.M. That meant that all apparatus south of Fifty-ninth street was to make record time to Broadway and Pine street. Police Commissioner Waldo arrived a few minutes later and took personal direction of the police guard.
It was as dark at 6: o'clock as it had been in the middle of the night. Engines collected in narrow Nassau, and Cedar streets and hose was rigged hastily. There was barely room in which to swing around a team. The horses, scrambling desperately over the icy pavements and frightened by the falling stones and firebrands, plunged and tried their best to break away. Water cascaded and froze on their backs. As rapidly as possible the teams were unhitched, led to quiet streets and blanketed against the cold.
TOO LATE TO SAVE THE BUILDING.
Chief Kenlon, his face crusted with ice, his hands blocks of ice and his slicker silvered from frozen particles, entered
the Equitable a few minutes after he arrived to try and determine the course of the fire and to see if any of the employees had been imprisoned by the flames. He made his way up to the sixth floor but was driven back by the overpowering heat. The chief saw then that it would be impossible to save the building and that the best to be done was to confine the fire and keep it from sweeping across the narrow streets to the neighboring banks. The chief's experience told him that there had been too much delay. The fire, starting in the southewest corner of the building, had rushed upward through the elevator shaft and had then spread over the top floor, working first along Pine street toward Broadway and then carrying backward toward Nassau stret under the drive of a northwest wind.
At 7:48 A.M. Chief Kenlon summoned help from Brooklyn. Deputy Chief Lally rushed nine engines, four trucks and a water tower across the Brooklyn Bridge and had his force at work by 8:15. The Brooklyn firefighters got busy in nassau street trying to save the northeast extension of the Equitable Building, a seven story red brick and stone structure occupied by August Belmont & Co. and W.A. Read & Co., bankers. They flooded it and saved most of it.
FLYING CLOUDS OF SCIRTCHED PAPERS.
All around the Equitable windows had been broken by the heat or by the impact of water. Through these whirled clouds of papers and documents that the unbarred winds had caught up from desks or broken cases. People ccrossing the Brooklyn Bridge about 7:30 o'clock witnessed a curious phenomenon. The northwest gale, humming at a sixty mile an hour clip, was burdoned with these bits of paper. The swept across the river, whirling high in the air. Brooklyn residents picked up later half burned and cancelled checks the firm name of August Belmont & Co. or documents that had been torn by the wind from other offices in the building. The streets around the burning building were littered with charred and soggy banking or commercial paper, mostly cancelled.
With all the force he could handle in such small streets, the twenty-six Manhattan and the nine Brooklyn engines, together with the water towers, trucks and fuel carts, Chief Kenlon attacked the fire from four sides. He placed two hose lines in the Singer Towerand shot great streams over Broadway against the upper stories of the Equitable. These dislodged large blocks of crumbling stone which fell and dashed to bits in Pine street. One of these just grazed the shoulder of Felix Bertine, proprietor of the Red Lion cafe, who was trying to get into his place of business across Pine street. Hose lines were directed from the upper floors of the American Exchange Bank at Broadway and Cedar street. An attack was made on the southwest corner from the Hanover Bank Building, while the Brooklyn men at the northeast corner fought with their water tower and carried lines of hose into the Belmont and Read offices. But the Brooklyn tower had no luck. Twenty minutes after it was put into service it stuck in the freezing...ending torrents froze its joints...have taken hours to unlimber the kinks. They left in where it was all day.
THREE DOOMED MEN DIE BEFORE THE CROWD.
While Chief Kenlon was assembling his apparatus the great crwod already collected on Broadway north and south of the police lines saw three men appear on the roof at the northweat corner. They were Massena Fratta, a porter employed in the building, who lived at 225 East Fifty-sixth street; Giuseppe Condi, a kitchen helper in the Cafe Savarin, and John Sazzio, also employed in the Savarin kitchen. These men had been prevented by the flames, it was supposed, from reaching any of the ground floor exits and had doubtless gone up to the roof in an elevator hoping to be rescued by the firemen.
The fire was still some distance from the Cedar street corner and their figures were silhouetted blackly against the leaping flames and the red glow in the sky. They waved their arms frantically and appeared to be shouting. Two of them knelt presently on the cornice. It seemed to people in the street as if the men were praying.
Chief Devanny, the first fire officer to see the refugees, called for volunteers. Nine men sprang forward. Chief Kenlon, hurrying up, ordered an extension ladder rigged in the bare hope that the men could be saved. The firemen put up the ladder section by section, but it fell short two stories. It was impossible to get to the three that way. Women who were serving coffee and sandwiches to the firemen to the firemen and police wept as they looked upward and went about their duty with tears freezing on their cheeks. Firemen were swearing, not profanely, but mechanically. men in the watching crowds clinched their hands and groaned. Appeals were shouted to knelon, to Binns, to Devanny to save the three on the roof.
"For God's sake, chief, get to them some way!" cried a young woman who was carrying a pail of coffee among the firemen.
LIFE SAVING ROPE FAILS.
Kenlon saw that scaling ladders could not be used because of the heavy ornamental coping that faced the building twenty feet or so below the roof. He resolved on an expediant that hadn't been used since the Parker Building fire. From the roof of the American Exchange National Bank, a small line was shot across to the Equitable roof. One of the three caught it and pulled over a heavier line. There wasn't much time to waste. The fire was travelling fast toward the three. Below them flames were leaping out of the windows of the sixth and seventh stories. Two of the men fastened the line around their waist, threw their arms around each other and prepared to swing over the side. The third apparently lost his nerve when his companions urged him to secure himself with them. It made no difference. They were doomed anyway. As the firemen on the roof of the American Exchange National Bank began to draw on the line, ready to tighten it when the two swung clear, a tongue of flame leaped from the seventh story windows, enveloped the line and destroyed it. The two on the edge of the roof overbalanced, fell to Cedar street and were killed instantly.
The third was Massena Fratta, the porter. As his companions fell to their death Fratta was seen crouching in the smoke, but distinctly outlined against the fierce glow. Presnetly he arose, threw his hands in the air, stepped backward and disappeared. In the afternoon, his feet and hands and face frozen, but still breathing in spite of desperate hurts, Fratta was found in the wreckage of the fifth floor. He was hurt internally, his skull was fractured and one leg was broken. The doctors gave him brandy and a heart stimulabt abd started with him for St. Gregory's Hospital, but he died on the way.
CHIEF WALSH MISSED NEXT.
These tragic episodes were forgotten for the time at least in the savage energy of the fire fighting. It was not long though before the firemen heard that one of their number, the veteran Battalion Chief Walsh was dead somewhere in the ruins. Walsh had been hard at work since early in the morning. Directing a line of hose, he had gone with nine men to the fourth floor and at 8 o'clock was seen not only by his men but by others leading the fight in the front of the building. Then Joe Broome of Truck 61 went to Chief Kenlon and said he believed Walsh had been killed when part of the fourth floor gave way. Kenlon turned the active command of the department over to Deputy Chief Binns and organized a search for Walsh. He heard from Capt. Sidney Johnson of Fire Patrol 1 that the battalion chief had made an effort to get up to the rooms occupied by the Lawyers'Club on the fifth floor. Up there the building was a red hell. Walsh told Capt. Johnson that he intended to take hose up there and see if he couldn't check the fire's advance toward the front of the building. Half way up the stairs to the fifth floor a back draft dashed a wall of flame across their path. Walsh, who was leading his men by twenty steps, threw up his hands, Johnson said, and cried:
"Get back! Get back! For God's sake, get back!"
SAVED OTHERS, HIMSELF HE COULD NOT SAVE.
Then Johnson heard a crash which he supposed meant that a floor had given way. He retreated to the third floor and then went cautiously up the stairway again shouting for Walsh. There was no answer. Johnson had to grab one of Walsh's men around the waist and struggle with him to keep him from venturing into the flame-swept fourth floor.
The men who had been with Battalion Chief Walsh told Kenlon that they felt the floor giving way under them. There
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was a rending of timbers and a sagging underfoot, Capt. Bass was in the part...by the rail of a stone arch in the stairway. There was so much smoke that the men couldn't see Walsh, who was some distance ahead of them. They heard his loud cry of warning, but when they shouted to him afterward there was no response. Like Johnson of the fire patrol they thought that Walsh had been carried down by a falling floor and that he was buried in the wreckage somewhere between the third and fourth floors. The interior was inextricably jumbled there, a formless mass of twisted steel, shattered stone, broken brick and charred wood.
Chief Kenlon did not give up hope until late in the afternoon when it became certain that no man could have kept alive in the terrrrific heat and dense smoke. As rapidly as he beat down the fire Kenlon had men with crowbars and hooks to pry away fallen wreckage, hoping to recover Walsh's body.
Toward evening he got the notion that the dead man was buried somewhere on the ground floor near the center of the building, where the Equitable's four wings joined to make a cross. For hours a party of firemen digged near the site of the bronze statue of Henry Baldwin Hyde, founder of the society and father of James Hazen hyde. The satue, of enormous weight, had sunk through the ground floor into the basement when the floor supports and tiling collapsed. But up to late last night Walsh's body had not been found.
The perils of the work ran up the list of injured rapidly. In addition to Capt. Bass's injury, Lieut. Humphreys of Truck 1 was knocked down by a falling stone. Humphreys was knocked unconconcious. An ambulance took him to his company headquarters. Chunks of masonry detached from the cornice and copings exposed the firemen constantly to grave danger. Daniel McVey of Engine Company 107 was hit and hurtabout the legs. Half a dozen others were knocked out of the fight in the same way. The policemen, standing shoulder to shoulder with the firemen, were exposed to the same perils.
One man went insane, temporarily at any rate, from the shock of seeing a body crash into the street beside him. Timothy Manning of Truck 6 was the man.
Of the Equitable and Savarin employees who were in the building when the fire started most escaped without difficulty. A few had had terrifying experiences. Gustav Peterson, a day watchman, had gone to the basement to change into his uniform. A negro named Leo Delk was with him. While they were below the ceilling of the basement collapsed and their way out was blocked. They managed to get out finally by crawling under the Broadway sidewalk extension, breaking glass disks in the sidewalk and so attracting the attention of the police. The firemen smashed in the sidewalk and made a hole large enough to let Peterson and Delk out.
FIVE HOURS TO CONTROL THE FIRE.
Handicapped by the piercing wind through the skyscraper canyons and by the freezing cold, Chief Kenlon and his men battled for five hours before they were sure they had the fire under control.
They were supplied with coffee and sandwiches by the staffs who got supplies from nearby restaurants. Bankers and businessmen in the district donated money to pay for the supplies... in dangerous places from which they were warned...They made the front steps of the Realty Trust Building their headquarters.
Shortly after Kenlon ended the biggest fire of his chiefship the wrecked structure began to asssume the appearence that made it a wonderful spectacle to see. From street to roof, on all four sides were sheathed gorgeously in ice. The frosting refracted sunlight in rainbow colors and took on grotesque and curious aspects at the corners where there were ornamental projections..were to be made out. Beards of ice depended from the copings. The handsome ancient exterior of which H.B. Hyde was so proud was a framework of delicate tracery, with the legend "120 Broadway" standing out clearly in gold letters on a background of silver. The building was solidly massed in ice. From the Broadway side it appeared that the steel girders and the fireproof brick construction had not duffered much. On the Broadway side the floors were intact, but they were fallen away in places on the Cedar and Nassau streets sides and in the centre of the building.
WORK BY SEARCHLIGHT AT NIGHT.
The two searchlights that usually drive their shafts at night high above the tower of the Singer Building were put to work last night to help the firemen. They brightened the face of the ruined Equitable Building just above the sidewalk where the scattering showers of the hose were pierced with crystals, they lighted the cornices straigt up to the roof and they plunged into the interior until the windows were jack-o'-lanterned into relief.
At 10 o'clock twenty firemen were sent up to the second floor of the burned building on the Nassau street side, where it was easier to move about, and began chopping a path through and up to the centre of the third floor, where it was expected that Chief Walsh's body might be found.
Deputy Chief Binns, frozen into a tightly buttoned coat that reached to his ears, stood opposite the main door and looked up under his white helmet at the ...cascades.
"What chance would there be of getting anything out of there tonight?" one man asked Binns.
"Not a chance in the world," said he. "We're going to be here all night and probably a lot longer. If you think that...you're wrong."
As he spoke a glassy screen of ice over the bars of the Mercantile Safe Deposit Company's door across the street glowed a dull red. The play of water all day long had frozen upon these bars and had merged from one to the next until it lay continuously oveer the whole face of the appeture.
When the red showed behind the door Binn hailed out an order and the firemen holding the nozzle in the middle of the street, switched it. But apparently only a trickle went into the room that had flared up.
As the searchlights were swerved this way and that little jets of flame appeared in the shadows. The streams of light were kept in motion so that too much light shouldn't blind the firemen to the lesser glow in the shadows. Every time a flare appeared and there were many at times through the evening, it was the target for the firemen. The fight was one that kept hundred along the sidewalks. It ...
POLICE AND ...WATCHING.
In the...of the evening representatives of the financial institutions came and pounded their feet on the pavements
looking for the first opportunity to enter the building and look at the vaults. But there were policemen strung straight
around the block with the exception of the Nassau street side, where the square between Cedar and Pine was cut off for everyone except the firemen. Even on the
... the width of the street had to be divided between the bank watchers and their...
There were also a lot of men on hand to look out for the interests of the firms having offices in 115 Broadway. They
...to go after their employ-
...the first hint of crumbling
...walls across the street. But they
spent most of the evening in the vestibule
...the relays of firemen coming in
...sandwiches and hot coffee.
..a glow popped out in one room
...late in the evening. Occa-
string of three or four lighted
..showed when some...of
....just caught fire. There were
...light along the window casings
..along the Pine street corner.
...guard securities and other prop-
erty within the Equitable Building Company.
...Waldo assigned 100 men to patrol the block last night. At the same time forty detectives were told off to remain on duty all night in the financial district. In addition to this, Inspector Hughes will be in charge of three squads of twelve men each, who will be on duty at the burned building for twenty-four hours.
At 10:30 o'clock, flame began to flicker again in the fifth story of the Equitable Trust Building, already pretty well burned out, and Chief Binns led a weary band of fighters up to the sixth floor of the Hanover Bank Building, across the way. From the windows they poured water across Pine street into the Equitable Trust building.
Ten engines were playing on the ruins at midnight.
A little after midnight, Deputy Chief Binns called off the men who were searching for the body of Chief Walsh. The men were thickly covered in ice and thoroughly chilled. Binns said he would get to work again at daybreak.