Morris Street Fire – Children Burned to Death

1882 image of Broadway and Morris from The Tower Building website

FIRE IN MORRIS-STREET.

Three Children Burned to Death — Several Persons Injured

We have again to record another painful calamity that occurred yesterday morning in the lower part of the city which was attended with loss of life, while a number of persons being terribly injured. About 8 o’clock the Hall bell struck an alarm of fire for the eighth district.

The fire originated on the first floor of the building No. 18 Morris-street, occupied as a grocery store, by Patrick Fitzsimmons, and owing to the flames spreading among the liquors they swept through the floor above with great fury and baffled all the exertions of the firemen for some time. The upper portion of the building was occupied by a large number of poor families, the children of whom were yet in their beds, and in consequence of the powerful streams of water that were played into the rooms, the occupants became bewildered, and some of them leaped from the windows to the icy side-walks, sustaining serious and probably fatal injuries. The fire was finally subdued and the contents and interior of the premises were found to be nearly destroyed.

Three little children perished in the flames, and their bodies were subsequently found in the mass ruins, all charred and burned to a crisp, so as to render it almost impossible to recognize them, — the parents of the dead however identified their unfortunate little ones, and they are as follows:

Elizabeth Arrey, aged 3 or 4 months.

Anne Arrey, aged 8 or 9 years.

A child of Sarah Crosby.

Mrs. Crosby was also badly bruised, and was taken to the Hospital.

The following are the names of those who were injured, and also those who are missing:

INJURED.

Carrick Crosby fell from the second story window, and had his back broke. He was taken to the City Hospital, by Officer McCabe of the first Patrol District, and is beyond all hopes of recovery.

Cornelius Towny fell from the second floor to the first, among the burning ruins, and was nearly burned to death. Conveyed to the Hospital.

Mrs. Towney, (wife of Cornelius,) had her arm crushed by a fall, while endeavoring to save her two children, who were finally rescued from the devouring element alive, but were considerably burned about their faces, breast and arms.

Mrs. Arrey, (wife of Thomas,) had her leg crushed by jumping from the upper story window; taken to the hospital by officer McCabe.

A man by the name of John Woods, a printer, boarded in the house and is yet missing; fears are entertained that he has also perished in the flames.

A lad named Henry Hickey, was also missing, but has since been found.

The other tenants of the premises barely escaped with their lives, but afterwards were nearly frozen to death in the street, before they could be provided with shelter. The fire department worked with great energy, and the poor houseless sufferers were rendered every assistance by Captains Silvey, Van Zandt, officer McCabe, and other members of the First Ward Police.

After the remains of the mutilated bodies were extricated from the ruins they were conveyed to the First District Police Station, and inquests held upon them severally by Alderman Moore, who acted as Coroner, the verdicts of which in each case were in accordance with the facts and heart-rending circumstances as given above.

New York Daily Times (New York, New York) Jan 15, 1852

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