"Heroic rescues and lucky escapes from the burning buildings" during Ellis Island fire
SCENES OF TERROR AT ELLIS ISLAND. Heroic Rescues and Lucky Esga,pes From tie Burning Buildings. " CRAZED IMMIGRANTS SHUT IK. A Round - up of the Foreigners and th Attaches of the Station This Morning Finds All Safe Rescue of the Hospital Inmates Dr. Senner's Dog Savea an Attendant Several Attempts at Suicide In the Flames by Immigrants Frenzied With Fear A Mother Casts Her Baby Into tlie Burning Grass and Rushes Aboard the Boat. The Child Rescued Provision for The Shelterless Occupants of Ellis Island The Place a Waste of Smok ing Ashes Loss Estimated at $1,000, - 000 The Big Building in Which th Fire Started Was a Tinder Box of Pine Origin of the Flames an Eleotrlo Light Wire. Ellis Island is a waste of smoking ashes today, with here and there over its area of eleven acres a heap of timbers not yet fully, conquered by tho Ilames. There Is little left in the way of walls or any sort of erect structure to break the desolate expanse of what was formerly a very busy immigrant reservation. Viewed from tne barge offico at the Battery the only indication of the existence of tho isl and is tho smoke arising from the ruina. This is suggestive enough to those who wit nessed lau night's conflagration. Tho immi grants who were rescued from the fire last night and who are detained now on the upper floor of - the barge office do not linger at the windows which look out upon the mlna. Theirs was a lucky escape from death, by all tho stories of the fire that have been ob tained, and they are thankful enough to be alive, even though deprived of a good part ot their belongings. Dr. Senner, immigration commissioner, ia one of the busiest men in New York to - day. Ho was first concerned with tho necessity of providing for the inmates of the buildings. The sick are being attended to at the BellOTue Hospital and tho others are sheltered pending an examination of their records in the barga office itself, where they used to be examined years ago beforo Ellis Island was converted Into an immigrant station. A board of spe cial Inquiry, made up of inspectors, was constituted at once to determine, la the absence of the records, which were destroyed Jn tha fire, Just what disposition shall be made of tho foreigners who are under detention. Meanwhile, until temporary provision of a better sort can be made, immigrants arriving la this port will bo examined on board their ships. Just what will bo done about securing build ings for their reception later has not beea - da - cided. To an Eagle reporter this morning Dr. Senner - said: "I have officially reported; at Saah - lngton that no lives wore lost and thafc so far as I know no person was seriously injured. I believe that the Are originated from an elec tric light wire in Hie statistictan"s office in a corner of the main - bundling. There is no - reason whatever Tor believing that It was caused by an incendiary or an anarchist, as hkls beea suggested. Some time ago I tried unsuccessfully to get additional help, which would bo required with an Influx of more immigrants. It wus fortunate that there were not more persona on the island as ft Was. I do not believe that any fire apparatus there could have been effectlvo in saving tne buildings after the flam'e got good h - eadway. The fault was not with the apparatus we had, but Wj'tb. the construction of the buiM'lngs. I nave always been anxious about them on that account. They should hlaive boon flreproof." Ellis Island a Mass of Cinders and Blackened Ruins. A number of reporters, officials and a few outside visitors were taken to tho island on tne ferryboat John G. Carlisle. All that was standing was the great engine house and electric light and steam plant, and Dr. White's house, which Is tho old Mason mansion. The lower portion of the hospital still remains standing as tho walls were three and a half feet thick; the upper - structure of woodwork was entirely destroyed. Tho bulldingB entirely consumed were the main building, which was 750 by 250 feef and three stories high; tho detention pen. which was recently reconstructed; tho restaurant, the laundry building, tho record building and storage house. A conservative estimate of the loss, including buildings, supplies, railroad tickets and cash, is $1, 000,000. The disinfecting plant, which was not yet complete, and upon which $25,000 has been expended siDce Dr. Senner's return from Europe, and which contained machinery recently brought from Camp Low, at Fire Island, was entirely destroyed. Tho southwest landing pier, which had recently been reconstructed and covered at great expense, was demol - : lshed. Only the lower old stone portion of the hospital and tho lower portion of tha detention pen remain. The morgue Is a mass of ruins. Two months ago the government built a crib which was filled in at an expense' of $25,000, and which added nine acres to tha: original two acres of the island; it is mora or less damaged. Felix Livingstone and Emila Schwab, tha concessionaires, place their 103s of supplies and equipment in the restaurant and cull - nary depurtment at $2,000. F. J. Scully, who has the privilege of the money exchange on the Island, places his loss at $10,000 In paper and gold, although it may tie less wnen the safe, which has been discovered, is recovered and opened. Thomas S. Faulkner, agent , of the Immi - 1 grant Clearing Houso, of tho Trunk Line Association, had two safes, one of which was recovered this morning. It had been burst open and about $300 was missing. The other safe, which Is buried under the ruins, contains several thousand dollars worth of tickets.