When Fire and Ice Devastated the Corner of Allen and East Houston [PHOTOS]

Posted on: January 12th, 2015 at 10:02 am by

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Photo: Museum of the City of New York

With the so-called polar vortex enveloping the Tri-State area the last week, this story seemed rather appropriate. We’re revisiting the devastating fire that sparked in the early-morning hours of January 12, 1903 beneath a series of adjoining tenements at Houston and Allen Streets.

Leather manurfactuer Fayerweather & Ladew owned the buildings, with addresses of 159-165 East Houston and 207-211 Allen. The blaze began in the basement at 4:03 am, and quickly “extended throughout the buildings, also causing loss and damage to adjoining building and contents,” according to the 1903 Annual Report of the Committee on Fire Patrol. Firefighters reportedly battled for 13 hours and 45 minutes before the flames were extinguished.

The photos hereiwith illustrate the extent of the conditions in which the first reponders toiled, as well as the catastrophic aftermath. Frozen fire escapes and rubble, all with the Second Avenue El in the foreground.

All photos courtesy of the Museum of the City of New York.

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