N&W in 1909--Fire
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Wed Jan 28 10:58:44 EST 2009
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
February 11, 1909
FIRE IN N. & W. OFFICES AT ROANOKE
Flames Confined to Top Floor and Loss Will Not Exceed $25,000
SPECTACULAR ESCAPE FROM BURNING BUILDING
Clerk in Claim Department Seeing Exit Cut Off, Climbed Down Metal Rain Pipe While Thousands of Spectators Cheered
SEVERE CRITICISM OF FIRE DEPARTMENT IS HEARD
Roanoke, Va., Feb. 10 (Special) -- Fire early tonight did $25,000 damage to the new six story office building of the Norfolk and Western Railway Company. The old building, a structure of like height, was in great danger for a while. The fire started on the top floor and spread rapidly.
Horace Litterell, a clerk who was at work in the claim department and had his exit cut off, made a spectacular escape from the burning building by climbing down a metal rain pipe while thousands of spectators cheered. Upon reaching the ground the man quickly disappeared.
The origin of the fire is not known. The loss is covered by insurance.
The building is fire proof and the flames burned them selves out, doing but little damage below the top floor. Severe criticism of the system by which the fire department works is heard on all sides.
[This was the west wing of what was later known as the General Office Building--South, both wings now converted into apartment dwellings. The east wing was completed and first occupied Jun 30, 1897, to replace the original wooden general office building that burned January 4, 1896. The west wing was completed in 1906. The General Office Building--North was completed and occupied May 1931, and is now a continuing education center. The GOB-South was the office building that is closer to the tracks. NS regional offices are now located in a newer building on Franklin Road in Roanoke.]
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