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The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, January 09, 1912, Image 5

Image and text provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1912-01-09/ed-1/seq-5/

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tVtstfaiiwiflar- ' ""'
The Story of a Fight for a-Man's Life That Will Stand -Forever in,
the Records of Heroism.
'At 7:30 o'clock, a fireman came
from the building and told his
chief that three of his companions
were trapped in the basejnent
vaults of fhe building.
The news spread like wildfire
through 'the ranks of the depart
ment and the assembled crowds,
and a groan went up.
The building by then was a ver
itable 'vo.lcano of fire. Elames
were bursting forth from every
window, fr6m every crevice.
Walls wer ebulging. Great gran
ite 'block were detaching them
selves, and craching to the
ground with thunderous roars.
.The doors to the basement were
clogged with debris.
A hundred firemen volunteer
ed to rescue their comrades, and
without waiting for orders sprang
toward the basement entrances.
With axes and crowbars, they
dashed in and out, scorched by
the heat, cased in ice, trying to
chop out the three imprisoned
At 8 o'clock, a fireman emerged
from the building, and spread the
news that the vaults were half
full of water, and that the impri
soned men were in danger of
drowning, but that the pouring'in
of the water could not be stopped
else the men would die of suffo
cation. The volunteers redoubled their
efforts They fought among the
falling-blocks of granite, each one
large enough ta crush -out -the
iives of a dozen men, with a hero
ism and' disregard of their own'
lives, that caused the watching7
crowds to hold their breaths. T
At 8:30, -the great walls'of the1
building on the Broadway side,
burst outwards in an inferno ofr
flame, and crashed to the ground."
Mostly the rescuers Darely es
caped. Tons of'granite and -marble
fell in the street, and perhaps
it never will be known how many"
firemen perished in that moment
of roaring horror.
But the rescuers went back to
their heroic work before even the'
last block had fallen, and at 8:50
o'clock they were able to speak to
the imprisoned men throtigh a
grating in the vaults.
tl was then that it was learned
they were not firemen, but Presi
dent William biGlin, of thfe Mer
cantile Safe Deposit company,
and two companions.
After twice being driven from
the burnings building bv firemen,
Giblin had returned a third time
to get papers of inestimable value
from his "desk, and thus was trap
ped.' 1
At 9 o'clock Giblin reported to
the fighting rescuers that .the
floors of the vaults had given way
and that he had dragged the bod-
ies of his companions-, now un
conscious, into the main office.
One steel bar still remained for
the firemen to dislodge. As they
worked at it, the falling of blocks
of solid 'granite became morcfu-.;.

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