1902 - PATERSON LAID WASTE BY FIRE - Business Section and a Hundred Dwellings Burned
LOSS ABOUT $8,000,000
Banks, Churches, Hotels, Municipal Buildings, and Newspaper Offices in Ruins
MARTIAL LAW PROCLAIMED
Police Reinforced by Soldiers and Citizens — No Lives Lost and No One
Seriously Injured Despite Rapidity with Which the Conflagration Spread.
PATTERSON, N.J., Feb. 9 - A fire in Paterson yesterday that laid waste the principal business portion of the city, destroying there about fifty buildings, and then jumped over more than a third of a mile and razed to the ground a hundred dwellings did damage that is conservatively estimated at about $8,000,000. The fire was caused by an overheated stove in a trolley car barn, and the fierce wind that was blowing spread the flames with such rapidity that the firemen could not cope with them.
The blaze started shortly after midnight and raged In the business part of the town all through the early hours of the morning. Relief was sent from a number of neighboring cities, and this relief prevented the destruction from attaining still more disastrous proportions.
At about 6 o'clock in the morning, the second fire started up and it was not until noon that the general situation might be said to have been under control.
The police of Paterson were utterly unable to deal with the situation, and Gov. Franklin Murphy of New Jersey called out several companies of the National Guard to guard the devastated districts last night. Mayor Hinchcliffe worked heroically all day long to rehabilitate the City Government, which the fire had deprived of a home. He announced last night that although many people were made homeless, they were not poor people and would be able to care for themselves. No aid would be asked of other places.
In spite of the terrible destruction, not a life was lost, and even the injuries are not of very serious extent.
THE SCENE OF DESTRUCTION
Desolate Waste of Blackened Ruins
Marks the Site of the City's
Special to The New York Times.
PATERSON, N. J., Feb. 9 — Seven full city blocks that once contained the chief business portion of the city are guarded in their complete darkness to-night by troops of the National Guard, and only smoldering ruins, from which now and then little blazes start up and silhouette a gaunt wall or a lone pier against the sky, remain of what was last night Paterson's proudest buildings.
Her National banks, her leading churches, her splendid Hamilton Club, her City Hall, her Public Library, her principal stores, her newspaper offices, her best hotels are but piles of smoking, steaming debris. The sweep of the fire was clean, and in its chosen district left absolutely nothing inflammable to claim the enjoyment of any community. But the business section of the city was not alone the object of destruction. More than a third of a mile away a desolate stretch of brick and stone piled in indiscriminate heaps is all that remains of what were a hundred homes of well-to-do citizens. In all this waste of a dozen or more city blocks, in mere territory, it is possible to identify only a tombstone shop, and that only by the marble slabs that remain, among the many small business establishments in this section.
The New York Times
New York, New York
February 10, 1902
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