New York Times

Stubborn Fire in the Cellar of 679 Broadway---One Man in the Hospital
For two hours last evening firemen fought a fire in the sub-cellar of the five-story building 679 Broadway, adjoining the Broadway Central Hotel. Dense, stifling smoke filled the basement and sub-cellar of the structure, and many of the firemen were overcome. One of them was taken to St. Vincent's Hospital, but the others soon recovered and remained on duty

The damage will probably exceed $50,000. The first floor, basement, and sub-cellar of the building are occupied by Rosenshine Brothers, dealers in millinery goods, flowers, and feathers.

When the firemen, with sledge hammers, had smashed the iron doors and vault lights of the cellar, they were met by such a rush of smoke and hot air that they were driven back. It was impossible to enter the cellar, and the firemen were compelled to fight the flames from the street with cellar pipes. When Chief McGill of the Third Battalion came, he ordered a second alarm sounded.

Lines of hose were carried through the adjoining building to the rear of the cellar, and for over an hour water was pumped into the cellar and deep sub-cellar before the firemen could enter.

Then it was that the firemen suffered from the heated air and smoke. They could remain in the sub-cellar only a short time and were frequently relieved, coming up thoroughly exhausted. Chief McGill was one of the first to succumb, but he recovered soon after reaching the open air. Capt. Fisher of Engine No. 25 had taken a line into the rear of the first floor of the building, where the smoke was also very dense. Their position became so dangerous that they were compelled to back out. All his men escaped safely but Fireman Charles Adams, who became bewildered and lost his way. It was some minutes before he was missed, and then a rescue party was formed. Adams was found lying unconscious on the floor. He recovered partially and was taken to St. Vincent's Hospital. Among the other firemen who were overcome were Capt. Meagher and Firemen William Cullen, George Winters, and Thomas P. Gibney of Hook and Ladder Company No. 3, and Fireman William Hammond of Engine No. 20.

It was not until 8 o'clock that Chief Bonner, who had assumed charge of the fire, announced that it was under control. The flames had been confined to the basement and sub-cellar and a portion of the first floor. Rosenshine Brothers claimed to carry a stock valued from $50,000 to $60,000, and their loss will doubtless reach $40,000. They are only partially insured.

The other occupants of the building are Morris Newberger & Sons, clothing manufacturers; Kirschbaum Brothers, manufacturers of pants; Sol. Weil, suits; Rauch, Segal & Co., manufacturers of suits, and A. Levy, manufacturer of children's wear. The damage to the goods in the upper floors of the building is entirely by smoke, and will reach probably $10,000. The damage to the building can be repaired for $1,500. The stock of Topping, Maynard & Hobron, hat manufacturers at 677 Broadway, was damaged by smoke and water $5,000.

A great deal of smoke found its way into the hotel adjoining, but the building was at no time in danger, and there was very little excitement among the guests.

Broadway cable cars were blocked for nearly two hours. As soon as practicable, Chief Bonner had the lines of hose crossing Broadway taken up. Traffic was resumed at 3:15.

The cause of the fire could not be ascertained. The store was closed at 6 o'clock and all the employes left at that hour. Twenty minutes later the fire was discovered.

Related Biographies:

George Rosenshine


Mark Baber


Encyclopedia Titanica (2004) FIREMEN OVERCOME BY SMOKE (New York Times, Tuesday 7th November 1893, ref: #3583, published 26 August 2004, generated 13th April 2021 02:16:57 PM); URL :