1866 - Fire
Memphis, Dec. 19. - A fire broke out in the basement of Joseph Speet's confectionery, Madison street, at three o'clock this morning, resulting in an appalling disaster. Sixteen persons sleeping in the fourth story were suffocated or else woke to a sense of their situation and leaping through the windows were crushed on the pavement below.
William J. Ehle, wholesale notion dealer and son-in-law of Speet, and his wife and child were asleep. Captain Waldraven, Chief of the fire Department, ascended by a ladder to the room and found the wife dead; Ehle was laying on the floor, and had just strength to point to the cradle where the child, four weeks old, was, and dropped lifeless. Waldraven seized the child and escaped through the window, the blankets over its face having saved it.
James Bartle, employed there, jumped from the fourth-story window and escaped with slight injuries. Several others attempted it, but were dashed to pieces on the rocks. Nine Negroes employed in the establishment were burned to death, and of the eighteen residing in the building one (Bartle) escaped.
The engines were promptly on the spot and extinguished the fire with little damage to the building.
Titusville Morning Herald
December 21, 1866
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