(Colorado) Akron Weekly Pioneer Press (Akron, Washington County) Date: March 29, 1895Page 1
FIREMEN’S LIVES LOST
DISASTROUS CONFLAGRATION AT DENVER
Three Colored Men and One White Man Sank Through the Floor of the St. James Hotel--The Building Save From Destruction.
Denver, March 25.-- A sad catastrophe occurred in connection with a fire at the St. James hotel Saturday night.Four firemen--one white and three colored--lost their lives. The fire was discovered shortly after ten o’clock.It was what is know as a blind fire, that is a fire where the flames are not discernable and where the flames themselves are of little account, but where the smoke is most dangerous. The actual fire did not reach above the basement.It burned away the supports of the floor, but by that time the water poured in from all points by the department had stayed the flames, but not so with the smoke. It penetrated the whole building.It could be seen belching from the door son the ground floor and the windows up to the fourth story.The fumes caused by the cellar damp and the burning of the wood made it appear as if the whole building was ready to belch fourth in flames, while as a matter of fact the fire was confined to the walls and partitions in the basement of the building.
The firemen who lost their lives groped their way through the smoke into the main entrance of the hotel, where the floor had been weakened by the fire below.The result was that they went down into the smoky vortex below with no chance to save themselves or to be saved. The bodies were recovered.The names of the unfortunates are: Harold W. Hartwell, Captain P.S. Brawley, lieutenant Richard Dandridge, fireman Steve Martin, fireman Hartwell was a white man, the others colored.None of the guests had serious trouble escaping and the fire was extinguished before the building suffered materially. The property loss by the destructive fire will amount to $10,000. Manager Clark of the St. James estimates that the damage to his furniture and stock will be about $15,000.He had an insurance of this of $20,000, but some time ago allowed it to sink to $12,000, $11,000 on the furniture and $1,000 on the stock. Water and smoke did most damage to the building above the first floor.Almost all the rooms and corridors will have to be renovated so far as painting, decorating, etc., are concerned.The basement and floors all the way through the block will have to be refitted and rebuilt.Mr. Wolff says the building is insured for $90,000.Repairs to it will probably cost $20,000. In the stores, offices and their basements the damage was confined to about $3,000.Everything is fully insured.