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fire

FIREMEN FOLLOW DIRECTIONS
A sign across the front of this seven-story loft building near the Brooklyn Bridge instructed firemen to “Simply Add Boiling Water.” However, cold water was all they had, and anyway it seemed to them that it win this case it might prove more effective. AP Wirephoto.
San Francisco Chronicle, December 21, 1943, p.7

THE FIREMEN FOLLOWED DIRECTIONS
Although the water they used was cold, New York firemen fighting a blaze in a seven-story building did their best to follow directions on a sign on the building: “Simply Add Boiling Water.” (A.P. Wirephoto)
The Philadelphia Inquirer, Tuesday Morning, December 21, 1943, p.6


Naked City, 1945, pp.52-53

3. FIRES…
The surprising thing about New York families, living as they do in such crowded conditions, is that they still manage to crowd in pets like dogs, cats, parrots, which they always try to save at fires. At one fire, I saw a woman running out holding a cardboard box with a couple of snakes inside. I questioned her. (It was none of my business, but I’m curious about people)… she told me she was a dancer who used the snakes in her act…
Naked City, 1945, p.52


Minicam, 1947

The Sign across the center of the building refers to the frankfurters, not the firemen! Weegee put his Speed Graphic with 5 1/4″ lens on a tripod and three No. 3 flashbulbs on extensions. Super Panchro Pres – 1/10 at F:8
Minicam, 1947


Third Avenue El, (3 second excerpt), by Davidson (Carson), 1950

The Eye of Fate

Did New Yorkers look completely different 50 years ago than they do today? Where have those kinds of faces gone?

There is cruelty in Weegee’s flash, but there is also harsh beauty. Sometimes it is the almost abstract beauty of light against dark, as in his photograph of a fire at the Hygrade Frankfurters factory — called “Simply Add Boiling Water.” But sometimes it is the raw beauty of emotion that Weegee captures in his subjects.

The faces themselves can hardly be called beautiful. They seem at first to belong not merely to another time but to another world, as remote from the present as the portrait of a Renaissance pope. It is human flesh, but arranged by a rough, unfamiliar hand. It takes awhile, wandering among Weegee’s photographs, listening to a pair of old men remembering Times Square in 1942, to realize that an old-fashioned face still lurks in each of us, if only a Weegee were there to see it when it surfaced.
The New York Times, December 5, 1997, p.30

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PM, March 2, 1943

“When fire swept the five-story loft building at 372 E. Houston St., Manhattan, the policeman, above, rescued these two kittens from a hallway. Later he gave them to Miss Sally Strumfeld, 218 Delancey St., who promised to give them a good home. Some small manufacturing firms and the Congregation Israel Anscheigal Icie Minhagsford occupy the Houston St. building. Holy scrolls were carried out by members of the congregation.” PM Photo by Weegee


Weegee, Naked City, 1945, pp. 60-61


PM, April 23, 1944, pp.m4-5

Fire Alarm
Weegee calls this his favorite photo. It was made at dawn recently on Manhattan’s Lower East Side during a tenement house fire. ‘The couple on the sidewalk,’ Weegee told us, ‘are watching the fire and hoping their belongings will not be burned. That is, the ones which the man had to leave behind.’ What happens to New Yorkers when they’re burned out of their homes? Well, the Emergency Welfare Division of the Department of Welfare takes them under its wing; finds temporary quarters for them in hotels, rooming houses or the Municipal Lodging House; helps them find new permanent homes; provides emergency food, clothing and even money for expenses. Families with very low incomes and those on relief get replacements of destroyed clothing and furniture free of charge. Clothing and blankets are kept in a Division warehouse and are rushed to citizens whom fire has forced to jump out of bed and flee into the cold night.” PM, April 23, 1944, pp.m5


US Camera, 1944, p. 40

“How these pictures were made.
SALVAGE from a tenement house fire is a typical Weegee shot. He says: “The other photogs on the job thought I was nuts to turn my camera on the spectators instead of the fire – but of all the pix I’ve made, I like this the best.” Made with a 4×5″ news camera, fast pan film, one flash bulb, in 1/200th of a secons at f/16.”


Naked City, 1945, p. 71

“A couple driven out from the burning tenement… I don’t know their names… but I did hear someone call him ‘Pincus’… so here they are right across the street from their burning tenement… it looks like Pincus had time to grab a woman’s dress… his best coat… but minus the pants…” Naked City, 1945, p. 71


“Tenement fire, 1945.” Weegee, 1977, p. 65


“The clothing has been saved, 1943.” Weegee’s New York, 1982, p. 34


“A couple driven out from the burning tenement…” Weegee’s World, 1997 p. 120

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Daily News, January 27, 1941 (Probably Weegee photos.)
Hundreds Cheer Heroic Rescue
Firemen wait anxiously outside loft building at 45 W. 14th St. Smoke pours from windows. Inside a female is in distress. But, ah, Our Hero is on the job. And here he comes, by gosh, (applause) with the Heroine. She’s just a dummy, but she’s a woman. It was a two-alarmer and no one was hurt.”

Great article called:

“How I traced my grandfather’s life from a famous photographer’s image”
by Charles R. Hale

Published on irishcentral.com on May 31, 2015.

Of course that famous photographer was Weegee.

The famous photographer’s photo was on page 73 of Naked City.
The PM page and page spread, published on March 8, 1942:
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PM, March 8, 1942, pp.2-3

Street Scene: Last Rights After Fire

“Three persons died in a one-alarm fire at a tenement with out fire escapes at 239 W. 16th St. yesterday. Seven other persons were injured. On the street after the bodies were removed, Father G.J. Knoepfel, S.J., pronounced the last rites as ambulance doctor held his hat. Two of the dead were identified as Mrs. Betty Hasara, 22, and her daughter Lucille, 8 months. The other body was too badly burned for identification. Two men were rescued from ladders; two women carrying children jumped from second-floor windows. Police are investigating the fire, which apparently started on the first floor and swept through the roof. Flames were 40 feet high when firemen arrived. Other fires yesterday took two lives in Brooklyn.
PM Photo by Weegee

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We published this blog post on March 8, 2013:
Weegee Daily… March 8, 1942… Street Scene: Last Rights After Fire…

A few related articles:
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St. Petersburg Times, 03/08/1942

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Daily Argus, 03/07/1942

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Syracuse Herald Journal, 03/08/1942

A few contemporary views, Weegee Daily, March 9, 2013:

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IMG_7782 copy

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New York Herald Tribune, February 28, 1944 (Photo by Weegee)
Fire Destroys ‘the World’s Largest Scenic Railway’ at Coney Island
Firemen fighting the four-alarm fire which razed the Thompson Scenic Railway late Saturday Night. Minor damage was done to concessions in adjacent Luna Park and to ties of the B.M.T. elevated tracks, causing the rerouting of all trains on four lines.”

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Weegee, Unknown Weegee, February 28, 1944, p. 40 (Photo by Weegee)

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Daily Mirror, February 28, 1944 (Mirror Photo, presumably not by Weegee)
“FOUR-ALARMER IN CONEY ISLAND. Hundreds of firemen, coast guardsmen and wardens were called out to combat a spectacular week-end fire which reduced to these ruins Coney Island’s Scenic Railway, called the oldest and largest amusement device in U.S. Unused Luna Park property and adjoining concessions were damaged. The orgin of the blaze is unknown.”

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New York Times, February 28, 1944 (Associated Press, presumably not Weegee)
“Coney Island Scenic Railway After it Was Gutted by Flames
The L.A. Thompson landmark – called one of the oldest and largest amusement devices of its kind in the country – was destroyed by fire on Saturday night. It is adjacent to famed Luna Park and four alarms were turned in before the blaze was under control.”

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PM, February 28, 1944, (PM Photo by Weegee)
“Plug for Wimpy by Weegee
An auxiliary fireman handing coffee to rain-soaked firefighters at the Thompson Scenic Railway fire at Coney Island yesterday poses long enough to give Weegee this picture.”

(It’s fascinating that while photographing the tragedy of a large fire at Coney Island, Weegee also made this funny foto of a coffee-toting fire-buff goofing around with Wimpy the hamburg-loving cartoon character and friend of Popeye. And that this is the photo that PM published of the fire…)

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Weegee’s People, 1946


Irrelevant: Popeye, Amusement Park (1947), from youtube – here… “It’s marvelous…”

PM Newspaper
PM Daily, June 8, 1941
“The Cumfort Hotel, an unoccupied flop house at 21 Bowery, was swept by fire yesterday. Battalion Chief Patrick Carey and Fireman Thomas Deady fell from a ladder while climbing to the roof. Here is Deady being taken to a hospital where he was found to be suffering from concussion of the brain. Chief Carey suffered only bruises.
PM Photo by Weegee

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Weegee Daily, June 8, 2013
The Cumfort Hotel is now the Confucius Florist…
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WD Photo by Google Street View (There should be Google Street View at night.)

To be continued…

Mongrel Pup Almost Dies Saving 16 Families in Fire
Jerry, mongrel collie, was overcome by smoke in a fish store at 210 E. 10th St., but not before he attracted the attention of a passerby.
When the ambulance arrived an intern gave the unconscious pup an injection and continued treatments until he regained his senses. Sixteen families made their escape from apartments above the store, due to Jerry’s warning.
John Lamanna, Jerry’s owner tenderly carries him off wrapped in a blanket. The intern said the dog would recover.
PM Daily, November 17, 1941, p. 18