Feb. 27, 1907: Downtown Fire Kills Secretary Who Stopped to Call Boss


Note: This is an encore post from 2007.
Feb. 27, 1907
Los Angeles

A thick cloud of smoke from a raging fire in the basement swept through the Germain building on South Spring Street at lunch hour, engulfing businessmen and office workers. In a fraction of a second, the building’s occupants were transformed from powerful executives conducting elaborate stock deals into blind and struggling humans groping on their knees through the hallways to save their lives.

There were many daring rescues and examples of selfless sacrifice. One man was saved as he was about to commit suicide rather than die in the fire. Firefighters battled the blaze until they were at the point of collapse, left to revive themselves and then returned. The only fatality was Emma Stewart, a secretary who died because she turned back from her flight to telephone her employer about the fire.

Her last words were: “Mr. Germain, there is a fire in the basement. Come quickly.”

Reporter E.O. Sawyer dragged her to safety after finding her next to the telephone, the receiver hanging loose from its hook. Doctors spent an hour trying to revive her but she never regained consciousness.

Advertisements

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1907, Black Dahlia, Books and Authors, LAPD, Streetcars and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.