Our Firemen, The History of the NY Fire Departments
Chapter 19, Part II
By Holice and Debbie
On motion of Prosper M. Wetmore, it was finally resolved that the member, of the two Boards of the Common council be ex offico members if the committee to be appointed. The committee, the names of whose members are well-known to-day, was then announced as follows:
Scarcely had this committee been appointed, when a communication was received from the president of the Board of Trade announcing the names of a committee from that body to co-operate in the objects of the meeting. On motion of Mr. P. M. Wetmore it was resolved that the following gentlemen, deputed from the Board of Trade, be added to the above committee
An investigation was commenced on December 23 (Wednesday) and carried on in the grand jury room on Monday, before Col.Murray, the Chairman of the Committee of Citizens, aided by Justice Lownds, and Messrs. Ward and Jordan, of the Fire committee of the Board of Assistant Alderman, relative to the origin and cause of the fire. From a mass of testimony received from numerous merchants, clerks, and others, under oath, it appeared to be incontrovertibly established that the fire originated in the store No. 25 Merchant Street, and that it was seen simultaneously in the first and fourth stories of that building, occupied by Messrs. Comstock & Andrews, the two intermediate stories occupied on the Pearl Street side by Mr. Henry Barbaud, that a report like an explosion of a gas pipe was heard in No. 25 to proceed from No. 28, and soon after the flames seemed to have been enkindled on the first floor, and shot up with the rapidity of lightning through the scuttles in the several floors to the upper most story and through the roof. It was the opinion of the committee that it must have been produced by the bursting of a gas pipe, and the distribution of the gas, until it came in contact with the coal in the stove or grate, by which it was ignited. The store No. 25 had been closed a little after five o'clock, and the fires well secured to guard against any accident or injury therefrom. This was the result of a long and critical investigation, and proved that no blame attached to any one.
The Board of Assistant Aldermen held a meeting on the seventieth of December, 1835. There were present Messrs. Clark, Cleavland, Townsend, Curtis, Brady, Paulding, Whitney, Clinch, Stewart, Power, and Ward.
Transcribed by Holice B. Young
HTML by Debbie
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