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Appalling Disaster

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The Brooklyn (N. Y.) Theater was doatroyod by tiro ou the nighl of tho 5th inst., and about 350 poople pcriBhed in tho iiaincB. Uispatchos fron) New York givo tho following detai's of the awiul calamity : The fire originated on the Btagu at 11:30 p. m., when the company waa about half through with the last act of the " Two Orphana." The i liro Bpreail with Hghtniitg rapidity, and burst out throngh tho door on Washington Street. The panic and confuBion among the audience wero terrible. The fire originated in the flies, whicb, blazing, feil on the top the ecenery. One of tho actresses oame to the front of tho etage and Baid ; " A Bmall acoidout has occurred, but don't be alarmed. Ouly a pieco oí fly íb on flre." On the montion of " fire" the aniience roso to tlicir feet and made a wild rush for the doora. The smoko soon becamo suffocating, and wonien feil fainting in the aisles, and were tratnpled over. Numbera jumped out of the Windows and were seriously injui' d. It is thought that not lesa than 350 persons were killed in the rush to the exil or burned to death, benig unablo to escape. The flre broke out during the performance of the last scène of the"Two Orphana," iu wluch Miss Claxton, who pláys the part of the heroine, liea on the boat-houae floor. In five minutes moro the audience would have been dismissed, and there would havo boen nothing more Berious to record than tho dostruction of proporty. The house was about two thirds filled, those below aitting well forward toward tho Btage. For those in the family circle, dreas circle, and salleriea there was no way of eecape, except by Washington street. The panic-stricken people rnahed pell-moll toward and down the atairways. The main exit became itnmediatoly clioked tip, and a ecene of terror, confusión, and distress ensued which beggars description. Just abovo the landing-place of the stairway, a woraan in the crush had her foot pushcd between tho balustors and feil. The orowd behind. forced forward by tho terrifled people Btill further behind, feil over and pilod on top of eoch other four and five feet deep. The pólice from tho station-house, next door, were promptly at the scène, but, owing to the manner in which the people were pilod upon top of each oth( r and massed together, tliey could extricate comparatively few, and thf Rewere all bruised, bloeding and maimed. Kate Claxton, at the preliminsry inquiry of the Fire Marshal, said: ''At the beginning of the last act, just as the curtain went up, I hi ar i a rambliug noise on the stage, and two limites af ter I saw flamea. The fire seemed to fae all on the stage. Mr. Farren, mynelf, Mr. Studley and Mr. Murdock were on the stage at thia time. We four remained tbero and endeavored as best we could to quiet t e audience and prevent a panic. I said to people: ''Be quiet, we are botween jou and the fire. The front door ia open and the passages are clear. Not one of the audience jumped on tho Btage. FJames were then coming down on us. I ran out and jumped over several people. Mr. II. i. Murdock, af ter endeavoring to calm the feara of the panic-stricken people, went to bis drOHsiugrooni to get bis clothing, and muat have been auffocated." J. W. Thorp, the stage manager, states that the fire occurred in this wise : A drop was ignited from a border light by Bome means inoxplicable. as one was guarde d from the other. He immediately directed Stage Carpenter Weaver and two Bupernumeraries to endeavor to extinguish the flamea, but the difliculty waa to reach the part on flre. Tlie stage carpontor, with the Bupernumeraries, essayed to effect that object by lowering the drop, and in 80 doing added fuel to the flamee. The Ecenc, tho last iu tbo play, embraced a ceiled apartment, and the inatant that the burniDg drop canio in contact with the inflammablo coiling, it eeomed to spread the exitting llames. In a flash, as thongh powder had previouely been scatterod about the scenery, the ontlre properties were in a blazs. The usual aveuncB of escape were thus sunimarüy closed at the rear, and an Exit, if at all postible, had to be made by way of the box entranco. All, except perhaps one or two, thua o ? caped. A later dispatch from Now York givea the following adclitional details : Horror upon horror accumulatod as tho day advanoed. Corpse after corpae, charred and blackened, waa pasaed out, and still the pile of bodies in the cellar did nut soom to diminish. As the number mounted to 150 and 160, the belief that the number would roacli 200 grew uto a certainty, and, flnally, at 4:30, tho 200th boov was removed. Some were found with limbs and banda burned off, and nothing left but a ghastly, blackened trunk. At 5 o clock the number had reached 220. Twenty bodies were taken out in half an hour. A look into the pit at this time still showcd a considerable pilo of corpses lying crosswise, liko stioke of wood, and thero wero apparently atill fifty or eixty oerpaea remaining. This was in the cellar under tlie inner vestibule, from where all the bodioa taken out to-day were removed. They lay in a pile, apparently whero they had boen pitched iato the cellar when the floor and stairway gave way. As night approached, two calcium lights woro placed in position, and tho work of removing the ghastly forma of the dead (made more ao by the light) waa continuod. Tliey were under the gallones, but no eatimato could be made of tho number. Tho charred remains of the victima were taken out in front and rear of the theater and rapidly loaded in boxea, and placed upon tho undertakers' wagons, ötill the pile of bodies in the celier did not secm to diminisb. At a lato hour to-night 285 bodies have been recovered. The city authoritiea were in seesion to-day to make arrangementa for interment in Greenwood Cemetery of the dead not identifled. The Times says tliat Fire Marshal Keady, who haa made an exhaustivo cxaminalion ol the circumstance8 attending the flre, is ol opinión that at least 350 porsons perished in the kimos. Fnrther Partlculnrs- Heartremling Scène and Incident - DeatH's Convulsiona. [New York Cor. Chicago Tribune.] A medical gentleman staíe.l th&t tito positiou of nearly all the bodies indicatod theta migbty etruggle was going on when deatk overtook tuem. Arnsn were ilexul and hands clenched in tho act of puahiüg. Kuoes woro bent and lf ia drawn up as though figuting off aorao advancing, cverpowering foe. Whether tuis was rauaed by the pree uure of the crowd, or falling (lubriB, or even tlio heat of the flamee, could not be to!d. It was the general opinión, nevertheless, that nome portion of the building gave way, preeipitaiing the ororcd into the flimes below. The rapid f all of the roof that foHowed buriod those who escaped the otuer cataatrophe. A young man Damed Dietz was identified by his sister and a friend, who, in discovering that it was the body they were in se&rch of, ivoro HO overcomo that it was all the authorities oould do to keep them from falling on and embracing the corpse. Tlie aiater stood near it crying, and giving vent to such exclamations as, "Poor Abe ! Oh, if mother can only stand thia blow!" The body of ono young man was diseovered by his sister, who, casting one glance at what was left of his coat., gave a cry of " My Torn !" and feil fainting in the armu of her fath6r, and was carried inuensible to the street. It was aftorward found that this young man was the only support of hia mother and eister, hia father being a drunkard, who had not contrilmted toward the support of his family for two or throo years. A dense arowd lilled the streets in the vicinity of the place of the disaster. The crowd was so groat that it was almost an mpowibility for thosa who were permitted to enter the lino to make their Way through it. All classes of poople componed the assemblage - women and cliildren as well as men - all drawn to the spot by the excitement. Most of the buildings opposito the theater run through from Street to street, and the Windows of all of them were crowded with spectators, principally womon. A temporary woodeu inclined plaue was built from the horrible pit in which most of the bodies were fouud. Along this they wore carried in boxen covered with blaukete. They were then placed in tho undertakers' wagons, which were in waitiug to carry them to tho morgue. Tho wagons of all tho undertakers in lirooklyn were in uee, and were drawn up in line along the edge of the sidewalk. One after anotuer of them was backed up to the theatre door to recoive the boxes containing the dead. At intervals of a few minutes several men would emerge from the door carrying a coffin shapod, leaden-lined box, coverod with ablankct to concoal the ghastly spectacle presentod by the c'jarred and blackened corpsos. The blanket outlined the deformed and shapelcus masa A haud or foot protruded above the box, and in gome cases bodies wero atiffened in almost sitting posture, and, as the wagon weredriven rapidly up the treet, their hoads nodded to and fro beneath tho blauUots, or protruding limbs quivered horribly. Tlie sight caused niany Btrong men to (urn away from the spot with tearful eyes. Miss Kato Ciaxton said that, at the time the firo broke out, she was rEcliuing on a mattreas Qn the Btage at tbo opening of the first f cene of tbelBBt ot of tue "ïwo Orphsot!." 8be ffau lying without a pillow, face upward, with hor evos cloaed, but, heSrin'g iho confusión, alio partially opened her oyes, and coüld eoe, tbrough tho canvas óf tho hongo repreHcntüd on the stage, tho fl irnos a'oovo. Tho soeno procoedod with tho knowlédge cu tlie part of the nctorstiat thoro was a Are on tho stago, hut all woro liopinc that it would be extingnishod. Tho actoiii oa tho stago at tho beginning of tho act woro Míhb Ciuton and Mr. Murdoch. Mm. Farron and Mr. i Studley alao took tlieir psrts eoon aftr, and tha hcoho wa abont half-played when the eccnery as scon to be iu , llames. Tho people in tho parquctto alio ! camo alarmed at tho confusión on the Btage nuil the fire, which was now plainly soon. TliO four actor ranged thoniaolvoH in a lino aeróse tho stago cIomo to the footlíghtpi. and as fsr as possible from tlio liarnos iu tho roar. Mr. Btudloy boggod tho audienco to be 'juieti saying that there was no causo íor alarm. Miss Claxton cloared hor throat and shouted, "Wül the pooplo keep thoir soats ? Wo aro botwoen vou and the ilanicR, and wo will bo burnod 6rst. Will tlie pooplo iu tho front eeats it down ?" Miss Claxton is of tho opinión that, liad not tho actors ronaained I!rm iu a Jino acrons tho front of tlio etage, the peoplo Would havo loapod upon thc stago and nttemptod to escapo by tho rear, wbero thO llames woro rayiug. In a moment or two, however, tho alarm acized I upon tho pooplo iu tho balcouy and gallory, and a rush was then made for the doorfi.


Old News
Michigan Argus