Posted with Permission of

January 17, 1908

Thirteen-Story Parker Building In New York Destroyed

The Fiercest Fire in Years - Three Firemen Dead and Many Others Injured - Many Daring Escapes From Tenth Story.

New York City. -- Flames consumed to its skeleton or iron and brick the supposedly fireproof structure known as the Parker Building, which occupies the northwest segment of the block bound by Fourth avenue, Eighteenth and Nineteenth streets and Irving place.

The flames licked to the bare bones of the thirteen-story structure. The steel girders, with their facing of white stone on the Fourth avenue side and brick on the other sides, threatened to collapse, and because of this peril the police cleared buildings which nestled beneath the burning structure of hundreds of tenants.

The subway runs under Fourth avenue, and because of the menace of falling walls peremptory orders were sent to the officials of the Inter-Met. Railway to stop traffic in the subway immediately. In case of the collapse of the building. Fire Department officials said, it was practically certain that thousands of tons of masonry would crash into the subway. The order to stop traffic was obeyed.

Three lives were lost and scores of firemen were injured.

The dead are: JOHN FALLON, Fire Patrol 3; GEORGE O'CONNOR, Engine 72; THOMAS PHILLIPS, Engine 72.

Seldom have New York firemen had to fight a more stubborn blaze. There were many thrilling rescues, and from time to time rumors went around that some of those fighting the flames had been killed by falling debris. Many of those working in the building when the fire started were saved with difficulty.

The amount of damage done was estimated by Fire Commissioner LANTRY and Assistant Fire Chief BINNS at more than $6,000,000. They said that the disaster proved the inability of the New York Fire Department to cope successfully with flames in the city's skyscrapers at a greater height than the eighth story.

Two score of firemen had miraculous escapes from death when the floors on the fifth story fell, carrying debris downward to the cellar and upon the heads of the men fighting the flames on the second story and in the basement.

The flames spread throughout the building with amazing rapidity, attracting 50,000 spectators. Fire lines were established early, and it is estimated that 20,000 persons were massed in Union Square alone.

The tenants of the building were as follows:

First floor - The Brunswick-Balke-Collander Company, manufacturers of billiard tables and billiard balls; T. Snyder Sons & Co., fancy upholstery.

Second floor - The Kuy Scherer Company, manufacturers of fine surgical instruments.

Third floor - Sambalac & Son, French and Venetian embroideries; Silver & Co., steel engravers.

Fourth floor - Karaghensign, Oriental rugs, of Constantinople; stock valued at close to $1,000,000.

Fifth floor - Encyclopedia Brittanica; James Clark & Co., publishers.

Sixth floor - The Detner Woollen Company.

Seventh floor - Frederick W. Evers, furniture.

Eighth floor - Fairchild & Co., gold pens and pins; Moses King, publishers; M. Goldberg, printer; John Finn, printer; P. P. Caproni & Bro., art casts.

Ninth floor - E. C. Heath, school books; the Judge Publishing Company.

Tenth floor - Vacant.

Eleventh floor - Local branch Collier's Weekly; Allan Stirling, civil engineer; Cushing Engraving Company, steel plates; Post & Co., printers.

Twelfth floor - Sixteen small office tenants.

On the tenth floor was stored one of the costliest art collections in the world - that of the late HENRY WALTERS, president of the Atlantic Seaboard Line.

MR. WALTERS, a Baltimore man, paid $250,000 duty to bring to the United States statuary, paintings and bric-a-brac valued at about $2,000,000. This priceless collections seems to have been totally destroyed.

The Cranbury Press New Jersey 1908-01-17