February 19, 1924

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News from February 19, 1924

News from February 19, 1924 (The Buffalo Times, via Newspapers.com™)

New York Tenement Fire Claims 13 Lives

On February 19, 1924, a devastating fire swept through a five-story tenement building in New York’s Lower East Side.The fire, suspected to be of incendiary origin, rapidly consumed the building, leading to the untimely death of thirteen individuals. Among the victims were seven children.

The blaze struck with such speed and ferocity that the building’s eight families found their escape routes blocked by the furious flames. In particular, residents on the upper floors found themselves trapped as the conflagration roared through the stairwell and up to their doors.

In the face of such an imminent threat, several acts of courage and desperation took place. A number of inhabitants, finding themselves abruptly awakened to the dreadful reality of their situation, had little choice but to face the immediate danger.

A passing policeman, catching sight of the flames flickering against the inner side of a window, discovered the fire. He rushed into the building, hamming on doors, and shouting warnings. Unfortunately, as the flames rolled down the stairs, stopping his progress upwards, the policeman was halted before he could reach the upper levels.

The policeman then spotted Louis Choenfield, a news vendor, fleeing from the entrance, pursued by three men. Choenfield, who seemed mentally disturbed according to the police, was taken into custody along with the men chasing him. In response to all inquiries, Choenfield repeatedly said, “I haven’t got any matches, you can search me.” Dr. Charles S. Rubenstein of Gouverneur Hospital later identified Choenfield as a man who had previously been treated for epileptic seizures.

The climate of fear and desperation continued to escalate. Occupants from the third floor, including a 90-year-old woman named Mrs. Lotta Lifschitz, were forced to leap onto the roof of a nearby building to escape the flames. Thankfully, Mrs. Lifschitz emerged from the ordeal without any injuries.

Learn more about February 19, 1924 through historical newspapers from our archives. Explore newspaper articles, headlines, images, and other primary sources below.

Source Articles and Clippings

"February 19, 1924," Newspapers.com Topics (https://www.newspapers.com/topics/century-ago-today/february-1924/february-19-1924/ : accessed April 13, 2024)
Topics A Century Ago Today, February 1924 ,

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