Central Avenue 209 - Park Hotel

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Gust Smoking In Bed Blamed for Hotel Fire

Lancaster Landmark Destroyed by Blaze

Careless smoking was blamed by Fire Chief Raymond C. Blair of Lancaster for a general-alarm blaze that destroyed the 75-year-old Park Hotel at Central and Pearl, Lancaster, yesterday morning.

Chief Blair said evidence indicated one of the guests had been smoking in bed. He estimated damage at $30,000 to the three-story frame landmark.

Firemen of four companies and a rescue squad were hampered by low water pressure and the two-above zero temperature, the chief said. Hardware stores were cleaned of their stocks of rubber-covered gloves to provide protection for firemen handling frozen hose line.

Fire Spreads. Through Walls

The blaze started in a second-floor room, Blair reported. He said the flames spread through the walls to the roof and to the first floor barroom. The first alarm was sounded at 8:45 a.m. and brought to the scene the Citizens, Protective, Eagles and Hook at Ladder Companies, as well as the rescue crew. Chief Blair ordered the general alarm a few minutes later. Additional firemen responded, bringing to about 50 the number of men engaged in fighting the blaze.

Before the first alarm was turned in, Charles Siller, who operates the hotel in partnership with Mrs. Margaret McBride, alerted the 15 guests and some of them carried buckets of water to the upper floor in in unsuccessful attempt to extinguish the flames.

Hotel Recently Remodeled

Siller said he and his partner had operated the hotel for about two years and that a license to sell liquor had been obtained only 36 hours earlier. He Said the hotel had been remodeled recently.

Two firemen, Gordon Anderson of the Eagle Company and Clifford Kryan of the Protective unit. suffered frost bite. The Salvation Army mobile canteen from Buffalo and members of the Citizens Women's Auxiliary served coffee to the firefighters.

Buffalo Courrier Express February 28, 1950

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