Democrat & Chronicle
Democrat & Chronicle
Contributed by Glenda_Subyak

Description: Services Over Remains of Asylum Fire Victims Yesterday, etc...

Date: January 11 1901

Newspaper published in: Rochester, NY

Jan. 11, 1901


Hyman Saperstone the Latest Fire Victim

Cause of the Fire
Thought To Have Been Gas From Laundry Burner
Pecuniary Loss Heavy
Present Estimates Place the Damage by Fire at the Orphan Asylum at About $25,000 - Funerals of the Victims

The dismal death roll of the Rochester Orphan Asylum fire halts at thirty-one, although it is to be feared that at least one or two more names must be added before the final total is complete. Hyman SOPERSTONE, the thirty- first victim, died at the Hahnemann Hospital yesterday afternoon.

Some progress has been made in ascertaining the cause of the fire, and the experts seem to have formed a somewhat definite conclusion. It was ascertained yesterday that, when a careful examination of the laundry was made, it was found that one of the gas jets which supplied the heat for the ironing apparatus was turned on at full head. This discovery was made by one of the employees of the gas company, and of the correctness of the statement: there can be no doubt. On this basis, one of the trustees yesterday stated he had no doubt that the gas first filled the laundry and escaped under the door to the next room where it was ignited by a burning gas jet. He was of the opinion that the first explosion ruptured a gas pipe, thus furnishing the material for another explosion which tore away the doors, throwing one of them across a room against the piano.

The theory at first advanced by the fire marshal, and based upon the absence of a weight from a safety valve of one of the boilers and which led him to believe that there was an explosion of steam, has been shown to be untenable. The official held that the weight had been blown from the safety valve. When the engineer's attention was called to this he at once explained the matter. He said that he was in the habit of using the boilers in rotation. Thus when one boiler was cold he would fill it with water. As a matter of precaution he would remove the weight from the safety valve, only placing it in position when he started the fire under the boiler. That this is prudent practice is well known to engineers.

There is another fact which would seem to effectually dispose of the theory that the fire was caused by trouble with the boilers. Yesterday the boilers were carefully examined by an expert of the company in which they are insured. He found them intact, and instructed the engineer to start his fires and get up steam for the purpose of heating the remainder of the building. This was done, and it was found that the boiler was not even cracked. The usual steam was on yesterday.

It now appears that the estimates of the loss by the fire have been far too small, and it was feared by some yesterday that the insurance would not be sufficient to indemnify the institution for the pecuniary damage. It seems that the personal property was of more value than had been generally supposed, no accurate inventory had been kept. Under the direction of A. J. TOWNSON, of the firm of Sibley, Lindsay & Curr, the work of making an inventory was begun yesterday. The damage to the building itself, it is now thought, will prove to be practically total, in which case the loss will be found to aggregate, with the loss of personal property, considerably over $25,000.

Owing to the absence of some of the insurance administers from the city, the work of appraisal was not begun yesterday. They were expected to return last night, however, and it is expected that they will look over the scene of the fire to-day.

There are now no children in the building. The survivors of the fire are scattered throughout the city at hospitals and on private families. The managers are desirous of having the work of the appraisers completed as soon as possible, in order that the portion of the asylum which is intact may be made secure and the children returned to the main building and the east wing.

Hyman Saperstone Died at the Hahnemann Hospital Yesterday

Hyman SAPERSTONE, aged 4 years, the thirty-first and latest victim of the orphan asylum fire, died at the Hahnemann Hospital at 3:40 o'clock yesterday afternoon. The remains were taken to the morgue, and thence to No. 28 Vienna street.

Although the lad's face and arms were badly burned the physicians at the hospital ascribe his death to pneumonia, resulting from inhaling smoke and fire into the lungs.

Most of the Surviving Victims of Asylum Fire Doing Well

It was reported at the Hahnemann Hospital that the CARY boy, the only injured fire victim now at the institution, is in a fair way to recover.

All of the patients from the asylum fire at St. Mary's Hospital are now convalescent. The four uninjured boys were taken away yesterday.

At the Homeopathic Hospital all of the fire patients are doing well, and the same report comes from the City Hospital.

Services Over Remains of Asylum Fire Victims Yesterday

Funerals of a number of the victims of the orphan asylum fire were held yesterday, while others have been arranged for to-morrow. The remains of Mrs. Martha GILLIS, who jumped from the window and was killed, were yesterday sent to St. Catherines for interment.

Rev. Dr. W. C. GANNETT, of the First Unitarian Church, officiated at the funeral of Mildred SLOCUM at Thompson's undertaking rooms. The child's mother resides at Rock Stream, Yates county.

At 2 o'clock yesterday afternoon the funeral of Mrs. Maria GORDON was held at Ingmire & Thompson's undertaking rooms.

The postponed funeral of Mildred WRIGHT and Gladys HILL was held at Zion Methodist Episcopal Church yesterday afternoon.

The funeral of Mary ALEXANDER and Minnie SKINNER were held at Oldfield's undertaking rooms yesterday afternoon.

Funerals of fire victims are announced for to-day as follows: Gertrude and Marion McGRAW, at No. 16 Birch Crescent, at 2:30 o'clock; Mary KANE, at 2 o'clock, at No. 212 Andrews street, burial private at Mt. Hope. Isabelle MARTHAGE, at St. Bridget's Church, at 9 o'clock; Cora and Bertha POTTER, at 10 o'clock, at Mudge's undertaking rooms.

The funeral of Bertha HALL, on of the victims of the orphanage fire, will be held Saturday afternoon from Strauchen's undertaking rooms.

Concern was expressed yesterday over the statement that little Bertha HALL, one of the victims in the asylum fire, was the child of the notorious "Kid" HALL. Attorney Philetus CHAMBERLAIN said yesterday that the child was the daughter of the late George W. HALL, who died in Fairport two years ago.

Fire Marshal WALTER is quoted as advocating the introduction of the life-saving net, to be used by the department in case of fires like that at the Rochester orphan asylum.

It has been suggested by J. C. KALBFLEISCH that all flags be at half mast to-day, on account of the funerals of firemen and the orphan asylum fire victims.

Counsel will sum up before Commissioner CASEY to-day at 10 o'clock, in the case of Patrolman John SHIRE, charged with not reporting to his superiors the fact that gambling was practiced in a room on his beat. C. E. BOSTWICK appears for the officer, and the city is represented by C. F. KIEHEL, of the law department. It is not expected that the commissioner will at once announce his decision.

George HELDRIDGE was arrested yesterday afternoon and locked up on the charge of exposing his person. Sergeant STEIN, who was in charge of headquarters, received a telephone message from the office of the Rochester Gas and Electric Company, on Andrews street, notifying him of the unseemly behavior of a man in an alley across the street. Sergeant STEIN sent Special Officer SEINER to the place indicated. He found the stranger, who proved to be HELDRIDGE, already in the custody of Officer VAUGHN. Officer SEINER took the man to the station and locked him up. He said he is 26 years old, and married, with two children.

Seneca L. CUNNINGHAM was rearrested yesterday afternoon at the jail by Detective LAUR, on a warrant charging him with petit larceny. CUNNINGHAM was arrested last week on the charge of grand larceny in stealing household furniture of Benjamin BAKER, valued at $30. Expert estimates on the value of the goods lower that figure by $6, hence the second arrest on a new warrant.

Hon. William RUMSEY, justice of the supreme court and member of the appellate division, sitting in New York city, may retire from the bench and engage in the practice of his profession in the metropolis, when he is superseded by Justice LAUGHLIN in May, says a rumor from Bath, Justice RUMSEY'S home.

Submitted: 05/15/05

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