Introduction
Victims
Suspects
Witnesses
Ripper Letters
Police Officials
Official Documents
Press Reports
Victorian London
Message Boards
Ripper Media
Authors
Dissertations
Timelines
Games & Diversions
Photo Archive
Ripper Wiki
Casebook Examiner
Ripper Podcast
About the Casebook


Most Recent Posts:
Elizabeth Stride: The Schwartz/BS Man situation - My opinion only - by Mark J D 1 hour ago.
Elizabeth Stride: The Schwartz/BS Man situation - My opinion only - by Wickerman 3 hours ago.
Scene of the Crimes: Location of lamps etc - by kjab3112 4 hours ago.
Suspects: A closer look at Leon Goldstein - by Wickerman 5 hours ago.
Elizabeth Stride: Elizabeth's murder and the double event - by Mark J D 5 hours ago.
Elizabeth Stride: The Schwartz/BS Man situation - My opinion only - by Mark J D 5 hours ago.
Elizabeth Stride: The Schwartz/BS Man situation - My opinion only - by c.d. 6 hours ago.
Elizabeth Stride: The Schwartz/BS Man situation - My opinion only - by Mark J D 6 hours ago.

Most Popular Threads:
Suspects: A closer look at Leon Goldstein - (16 posts)
Elizabeth Stride: The Schwartz/BS Man situation - My opinion only - (11 posts)
Hutchinson, George: A closer look at George Hutchinson - (9 posts)
Scene of the Crimes: Location of lamps etc - (7 posts)
Mary Ann Nichols: What are side-spring shoes? - (3 posts)
Pub Talk: Useless Thread... - (3 posts)


Fort Wayne News
Indiana, USA
27 January 1903

HOLOCAUST IN AN ASYLUM
FIFTY ONE LUNATICS BURNED TO DEATH IN A LONDON FIRE TRAP INSTITUTION
IMPRISONED IN THE ROOMS

London, Jan, 27.
One of the most sensational fires London has seen in years, partially destroyed the state asylum at Colney Hatch, North London, this morning. It is believed that fifty persons lost their lives in the flames. The fire started at 5.30 in the Jewish wing, which has six hundred inmates, and owing to the difficulty of access to the building the blaze had a firm hold before the firemen arrived on the scene. The asylum is built on an eminence and the approaches are by steep gradients.

AN UPHILL FIGHT

Up these the fire fighters made their way, and when they reached the building a state of pandemonium reigned there. The lunatics had all been asleep, and when awakened tore away from the attendants, raced up and down the corridors in a dazed way, trying to escape. A number got out of the building and are still at large. The firemen devoted their entire attention to the main buildings, as the fire had gained such headway when they got to work it was a hopeless task to try to save the wing where the flames originated.

PLACE DEAD AT FIFTY

Other engines arrived and by 8 o'clock the fire was under control. It was at first thought that all the lunatics had been either taken out by the attendants or had escaped, but after the flames were under control several bodies were found in the ruins and latest computation by the authorities place the number of dead at fifty. Firemen are searching the ruins for bodies. The bodies taken out were disfigured beyond recognition. All that have so far been recovered are women. Agonized relatives of missing patients are now at the scene and are helping the search for bodies.

THRILLED WITH HORROR

London is thrilled with horror at the disaster. New details are piling up the agony. It seems that nothing was provided for such an emergency. There were no fire escapes to the buildings, especially no water available. which made the asylum a hopeless death trap. The work of rescue was heroic, but failed because of lack of system and appliances. In addition to this the asylum was surrounded by a high wall, thus excluding all possible voluntary assistance to the staff in their work of quieting and getting the frenzied inmates to places of safety. The part of the building burned was a flimsy affair of corrugated iron and wood. It was built for temporary use five years ago, but has since been permanently occupied.

STRUGGLED TO BREAK BARS

The wood, which was of pitch pine, burned like paper, heating the iron red hot. A majority of the windows were barred with iron, preventing escape. Feeble women were seen struggling fiercely to break these bars, at last being forced to fall back and perish in the flames. It was nearly noon when the work of recovering the bodies was complete. The remains of fifty one persons were found. There were 2,000 inmates in the entire institution, but only 500 occupied the burned section. These were mostly old women, having harmless vagaries and not requiring isolated confinement. A majority of the victims were suffocated. A rigid investigation into the fire and the condition of affairs at the asylum will be made.


Related pages:
  Colney Hatch
       Press Reports: Bluefield Daily Telegraph - 28 January 1903 
       Press Reports: Elyria Chronicle Telegram - 27 November 1903