Sunday, July 17, 2011

Watchman's Body in Fire Ruins

Watchman's Body in Fire Ruins
New York, Feb. ii—A laborer working the ruins of the Equitable building, which was burned on January 9, found a strange charred lump in the basement which proved to be a human hip. Several other pieces of human flesh and bone were later dug up, and are believed to be parts of the body of Frank J. Neider, the watchman locked up in the vaults during the fire, whose body had been sought for for the past thirty days. It is believed that he was overcome by smoke, and subsequently was burned and crushed in the ruins. The recovery of this body accounts for all six who were killed in the fire.
Found reprinted in the The Daily Princetonian, VOL. XXXVI, NO. 174, PRINCETON, N. J., MONDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 1912, and datable to the 9th, 10th or 11th of February. Likely out of a city newspaper. Otherwise the disposition of Neider has been lost in the memory hole.

This just in:

January 12, 1912, The Sun, "PART OF NEIDER'S BODY FOUND,"

Page 4, Column 4,

Head of Watchman Victim of Equitable Fire Is Still Missing.

Parts of a charred body thought to be the remains of Frank Joseph Neider, attendant in the vaults of the Mercantile Safe Deposit Company, who has been missing ever since fire destroyed the Equitable Building, were found yesterday afternoon by workmen of the Thompson-Starrett Company. About twenty feet inside of the third window from Broadway on the Cedar street side of the building the men came across the heel of a rubber boot in which were parts of bone and flesh. Other discoveries were of bits of bones and a larger piece of charred bone and flesh which looks like part of a man's trunk and thigh. The head was not found. Coroner Winterbottom has ordered the parts collected and taken to the Old Slip police station to be held.

The charred remains were found lying on the floor inside of a cage at the bottom of a flight of stairs leading down into the vaults at the corner of the building on Cedar street and Broadway. Search was at once begun for the head. About ten pieces were found. It was feared that some parts might have been loaded on to wagons and orders were given by telephone to examine all wagons arriving at the dumps. Neider was 45 years old and lived at 717 Melrose avenue, The Bronx, wi th his wife and a daughter. The search was continued last night and it was feared from the charred condition of the debris that nothing more, not even the head, would be found.

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