Our Firemen, The History of the NY Fire Departments

Chapter 16, Part III

By Holice and Debbie

The firemen were not long in reaching the scene of disaster, with Chief Engineer Alfred Carson at their head. A general alarm having been sounded, nobly did the members of the Department turn their untiring efforts toward rescuing those still alive. They soon controlled the flames, and then body after body was carried out, some mangled and bruised beyond recognition. Among those early on the spot were Zophar Mills, harry Howard, Recorder F. A. Tallmadge, Chief Matsell, J. Murray Ditchett, Joe Keefe of Engine 21; while among the companies who mounted the hot bricks were Engines 4, 5, 13, 14, 22, and Hook and Ladder 1 and 4. All the down-town companies lent a helping hand. Wm. Story, of No. 4, at the risk of his own life, rescued many, among them a little boy named Freddie Tieman. Story had to crawl down into a hole seven feet before he could get to where the little fellow lay. He was alive, and the first work he said was, "Mr. Fireman, that fire is close to my feet." Story gave him his fire cap and told him to put it over his face to keep the steam off, and he would put a stream on the fire. The lad did as he was told, and waited for the hour of deliverance. While he lay thus wedged in between two heavy beams he heard others beneath him giving way to the agony of despair. His words to those were: "What's the use of giving up? The firemen hare hard at work; they will get us out if anybody can."

They finally sawed away a large timber, Zophar Mills superintending the whole affair, and the little hero was saved. Away down near the bottom lay another brave little fellow, who name is still stamped upon the heart of many an old fireman, one Samuel Tindale, fifteen years old, and by him one of his comrades, Thomas Vanderbilt, nineteen years old. Around them were burning timbers and hissing bricks. Tindale soon made known his whereabouts, and the firemen worked like beavers to rescue him. His brother was quickly by his side, and when the boy heard him he said: "Go tell mother I am still living ; not to worry; that I hope soon to get out." At the same time he told the firemen he was up to his neck in water: "You must stop that water or I shall drown; there is a stick across my leg, and I cannot love."

The firemen kept carting away basket after basket of rubbish, and finally worked their way down to an old side door, where they made considerable headway, when young Tindale hallooed to them that he was scorching. Finally they got near enough to hand him a blanket. As he took it he said there was a dead man lying alongside of him. All day long he remained in the same position. It seemed a miracle how he ever survived; but his brother remained by him, encouraging him and furnishing him with stimulants. About nine o'clock at night it was found that a heavy iron bar held him fast. About eleven o'clock he said he thought they could not save him, and exclaimed: "I shall be the third one who had been killed in this affair." He had no idea how many had fallen victims in this deplorable disaster. At one o'clock the iron bar was lifted, when it was discover that another bar still held him a prisoner. As soon as the boy heard this, he exclaimed: "Pull me out, whether you drag my legs off or not!" On worked the firemen, never faltering for a moment, and at four o'clock in the morning, amid shouts of all, the noble youth was lifted out and b. e to Dr. Traphagen's drug store, No. 308 Pearl St., where he died shortly after. He had been twenty hours in the ruins.

Sixty-four persons were killed, the greater portion of whom were young men and boys, while about seventy were injured. Among the latter was John Vanderpool of engine 15. He succeeded in rescuing a young lad named George West, William Merritt of Hose 13, and henry A. burr. The Common Council, headed by Mayor Westervelt, did all they could to aid the sufferings of the wounded and the families of the dead. No fire ever occurred in this city that was attended with a greater loss of life.

Names of killed and wounded in The Hague St. explosion:

LIST OF KILLED

1 Peter Hyde 18 years b.  in Brooklyn
2 George Hyde 28 years b.  in Brooklyn
3 Levi Hall 28 years b.  in Connecticut
4 Adam Nealty 33 years b.  in Ireland; residence Sixth Ave.  and Thirty-second St.
5 Isaiah Marks - (colored) boy
6 Leonard Brooks 30 years b.  in Rockland County; residence, 54 Oliver St..
7 Alexander Dixon 23 years b.  in Canada; residence, 29 Front St., Brooklyn
8 Henry N. Reed 29 years b.  in New York; residence, 128 Ninth St.
9 Richard E. Egbert 30 years b.  on Staten Island
10 Samuel J. Tindale 15 years b.  in New York; residence, 72 Beekman St.
11 Rufus Whitney 35 years b.  in Boston; residence, Williamsburg
12 John Dougherty 19 years b.  in Scotland; residence, Brooklyn
13 James Brooks 23 years b.  in New York; residence, 54 Oliver St.
14 Abraham O. Kelsey 31 years b.  in New Jersey; residence, Rivington St.
15 Robert Hyslop 27 years b.  in Scotland; residence, 4112 Pearl St.
16 Patrick Burns 29 years b.  in Ireland; .residence, division St., Brooklyn
17 John Rogers 34 years b.  in New York; residence, 38 Mott St.
18 Daniel Dougherty 16 years b.  in Ireland; residence, Brooklyn
19 George T. Worrell 17 years b.  in New York; residence, 636 Fourth St.
20 Lemuel B. Whitney 27 years b.  in Brooklyn; residence Church St.
21 Loren King 22 years b.  in New York; residence, 61 Oliver St.
22 Jesse Huestis 14 years b.  in New York; residence, 87 Beekman St.
23 Frank Bartlett 14 years b.  in Hudson; residence, 74 Frankfort St.
24 Owen Brady 14 years b.  in New York; residence, 115 Willett St.
25 James Taill 33 years b.  in England; residence, 84 Frankfort St.
26 Joseph Lockwood 45 years b.  in Connecticut; residence, Beekman St.
27 George Harwood 25 years b.  in England, residence, 227 Eighth St.
28 Joseph P. Hurd 27 years b.  in Connecticut; residence in Brooklyn
29 Joseph Harvest 29 years b.  in England; residence, 323 Delancey St.
30 Alexander Herglas 33 years b.  in Ireland; residence, 63 Third Ave. 
31 William Elliot Townsend 13 years b.  in New York; residence, 328 Ninth St.
32 Seneca Lake 36 years b.  in New York; residence 137 Seventh St.
33 William Baudoine 22 years b.  in New York; residence in Cannon St.
34 Thomas Vanderbilt 26 years b.  in New York; residence, 106 Cherry St.
35 James Kearney 35 years b.  in Ireland; residence not known. Buried by city
36 Joseph Eisinger 19 years,  b.  in France; residence, 16 Pike St.
37 Matthew McLaughlin 22 years b.  in New York; residence in Broome St.
38 -
39 -
40 -
41 All these bodies remained without identification. Some of them were never identified, even by the most careful scrutiny which could be made by anxious friends.
42 -
43 -
44 William Collins aged 24 b.  in Ireland; resided at 337 Pearl St.
45 Lawrence Christal, aged 23 b.  in New Jersey; resided at 272 William St.
46 Robert Ross aged 40 resided in Brooklyn
47 James Guillifer aged 40 b.  on Long Island; resided at 74 Middagh St., Brooklyn
48 George Neal aged 15 b.  in New York; resided in Brooklyn
49 Isaac H. D. Osb.  aged 32 b.  in New York; resided at 71 Ave.  D
50 George Ford aged 35 manager for Taylor & Co., resided in South First St., Williamsburg
51 Wm. K. Bartlett aged 17 b.  In New York; resided at 74 Frankfort St.
52 Stephen Coburn aged----- birthplace and residence not ascertained
53 James Granger aged 23 b.  in London; resided in Brooklyn
54 George H. Davis aged 37 b.  in Massachusetts; resided at 291 Pearl St.
55 John Thurston aged 15 b.  in Brooklyn; resided in Brooklyn
56 Robert H. Stremmel aged 13 b.  in New York; resided at 174 Newfolk St., Brooklyn
57 Cornelius Dougherty aged 15 b.  in Scotland; residence not stated
58 Charles Knowlton aged 35 b.  in England; resided at 632 Fourth St.
59 Thomas Farrell aged 34 b.  in Ireland; resided at 269 Madison St.
60 Peter Donahue aged 32 b.  in Ireland; resided at 3 Oak St.
61 One body not identified - -
62 One body not identified - -
63 James S. Crincy aged 39 residence not known
64 William E. Merritt aged 26 residence in Beekman St.. His body was covered with contusions and burns, and presented a most pitiable appearance. Though attended with great care, he survived his injuries only one week. He was a cousin of John J. Tindale, ex-president of the Fire Department

Transcribed by Holice B. Young

HTML by Debbie

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