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California Digital Newspaper Collection > San Francisco Call > 31 October 1900 > DELVING IN THE RUINS OF WRECKED BUILDINGS

San Francisco Call, Volume 87, Number 153, 31 October 1900 — DELVING IN THE RUINS OF WRECKED BUILDINGS [ARTICLE]

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DELVING IN THE RUINS OF WRECKED BUILDINGS

Parts of Bodies of Victims Poland at Scene of .New York's

Police Say Oinly Four or, Five Persons Perished, but Thirty Are i • *i "i Tin* •

NEW TORK, Oct. 30.-AU the efforts of the authorities are now directed to cleaning away the ruins of the Tarrant and other buildings wrecked by the great explosion of yesterday In the desire to find how many bodies are buried in them and to ascertain the cause of the explosion. The efforts of the searchers for the dead were rewarded to-day* by the finding of the remains of H. C. A. Sci.mldt of Brooklyn, and the discovery of what seem to be the bodies of three other people. Schmidt was an engraver and had an office on the first floor of 101 Warren street. The body could be seen pinned down under a mass of twisted, iron, but could not be got out to-night. .The identification was made by a nephew of Schmidt.

At the northwest corner of the Tarrant building, at Warren and Greenwich streets, a mass of clothing and indiscriminate articles was discovered, and the mass was said to be the bodies of three people. . The firemen' went to work with a will, and to-night brought to light a portion of a woman's foot and the top of a erushed-In skull. The skull had long brown hair attached and is supposedly that of a woman.

During the day Superintendent Dooner had .a very large force of men working as hard as possible tearing down piles of debris and removing it. The flre burned all day, and toward night was practically to the end of the mass of debris at Washington and Warren streets. The flre extends back some distance and is burning fiercely.

One hundred and eighty patrolmen under Captain Westervelt and InsrSctor Brooks were stationed at the ruins at 6 o'clock, relieving the day force. Both Inspector Brooks and Captain Westervelt were skeptical over the reported largo loss of life. . They both said they did not expect more than four or five bodies would be found in the ruins.

Playing, on the still burning ruins were four engines, and they kept their streams going continuously. A revised list made to 12 o'clock to-night shows thirty persons still mTssing. . At- 10:30 o'clock a portion of a human trunk, probably, the abdomen, was dug out, and a little later a' brown canvas coat. There was nothing in the pockets but four quill toothpicks. Still later the firemen .found another portion of a skull and a portion of a human back. Just before midnight a workman found a black cheviot coat in the exact spot where the human remains were found. In the pockets were 4 cents and an application for membership in the West End Republican Club. Shortly afterward in the same place an unrecognizable mass of human flesh was found. A half-foot was also found in this place.

Dr. Cromer of the Health Department, who examined the remains, said they were probably all from the same person, as were the foot and a portion of a skull found earlier. The remains were all found in the Tarrant building. Following Is a revised list of the missing:

Philip Amand, cigar-maker; James Alken; Mary Bradley, employed In printing office: Ira C. Barnes, egg dealer; Francis Barnes, egg candler: James Cruger. employed as packer; Kate Callaghan. employed, by Tarrant & Co.; Isaac Cohen, truck driver: Mrs. Ella M. Cable; Millie Golden, employed by Tarrant & Co.; Thomas Harriet, employed by Tarrant & Co.; William Halsey, employed in egg store; Patrick Hennessey, worked for Epptns. Smith & Weymann: Joseph Multier; Benjamin Moorehouse, clerk for Tarrant Si Co.; Julia Murphy, worked in Warren street; Hamilton Matthews, truck driver; Harry Moore; Joseph Natalie, kept &. restaurant opposite Tarrant's; Jules Oppen 1 helm, employed by Landrteld Brothers; Frederick Field, . plumber; Mary Busch, employed by . Tarrant & Co. ; H. Smith, worked in confectionery store; .George Sulker, egg dealer; Abraham Stein; George Scuck. employed in Tarrant & Co.'s laboratory; Mary Smith, employed bv Tarrant & Co.; Jennie ' Smith, employed by Tarrant & Co*; James Wilkinson, employed by department of street cleaning: Victor Hugo Mathusek, the piano manufacturer, is safe and uninjured.

Charles Francis Buckley, son of the proprietor of the Home Made Hotel, said today ¦ that when the explosion occurred twelve men and women, known , as the "nfght shift," were asleep on the top floor of the hbteK .There were also many men and women who -live out of the city who were registered at the hotel. No one in New Tork knows whether these patron* escaped -or not, because few if any of them have relatives or friends here.

Of • the employes who were asleep th* women were Irish and German girls who have recently come to this country. They have no friends, no home outside of the hotel and there Is no one to Inquire for them if they are missing.

Far Into the night while the work of digging continued hundreds of 'men, women arid children 'with anxious faces pushed against the police* lines and begged admittance. The bureau of Information established at the Leonard street station was nothing to these anxious folk. The promise made them by the sergeant to let them' know when there was news, either good or' bad, did not satisfy their grief. All through' the day and into /the wet night these anxious* men, women and chil.dren stood, growing more anxious as time passed. " • " . ; I . ¦

:''jTt.was the conviction to-day of not only FlrV Chief Croker and Chief Murphy, but also ,-of * Thomas '.T.' Main, ¦ president. . and

W. C. Allen, treasurer of Tarrant & Co.. that the tremendous explosion was caused by gases generated from chemicals by the heat of the flre. There was one Important point of difference, however. The officers of Tarrant & Co. declared they did not have stock In sufficient quantities of chemicals of any explosive character to cause the great damage. Their contention la that the fire cauaed all of their varied stock of drugs to vaporize and that the resultant gas did the stupendous work of destruction. The flre department officials do not believe that " the ordinary stocks of drugs and chemicals of a wholesale druggist could under any condition develop an explosive force- capable of hurling: a steel and stone seven-story building Into the air and crumbling: up five other big buildings. The theory Is gaining ground that the explosion was caused by the action of waters and other chemicals on a great quantity of chlorate of potash stored in the building.


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