June 9, 1908


Roof and Second Floor of Two Old
Structures at 1403-1405 Grand Ave-
nue Fell to Basement -- Were
Condemned Yesterday.

Twenty persons had a miraculous escape from being crushed to death at 11:45 o'clock yesterday morning when the front section of two buildings, located at 1403-1405 Grand avenue, collapsed and the walls fell inward carrying the roof and second floor to the basement. The buildings were condemned yesterday by the building inspector and ordered torn down. Adolph Dose conducts a saloon in the building at 1403 Grand avenue and there were ten men in his saloon when the collapse came. All escaped without injury. Henry Carter, a porter employed by Mr. Dose, was in the basement when he noticed a section of the sustaining wall on the south side of the building had fallen out. He went upstairs and reported the matter to Mr. Dose, who telephoned John E. Lach, a furniture dealer, the owner of the building. When Mr. Lach reached the saloon he and Mr. Dose went to the basement to examine the wall and had returned to the main floor when a rumbling noise was heard and the patrons in the saloon ran out.

The bartender, Charles Wedlick, was behind the bar at the time. He said he was walking towards the front end of the bar and noticed that as he got nearer the front end he was sinking below the bar. Wedlick ran from behind the bar and down into the basement, where he stood beneath a large girder in the center of the building. He was not struck by any of the flying bricks and timber, but the lime dust nearly suffocated him.

In the saloon at the time were Adolph Dose, Charles Wedlick, Peter Fielding, a contractor; Fred Hay, and insurance agent; John Baird, a constable; Henry Carter, the porter, and John E. Lach, the proprietor of the building, besides three strangers.

Above the saloon Kim Ying Woy conducts a chop suey restaurant. He was in the rear of his place with his cook. They were not hurt and walked down to the yard in the rear.

When the wall of the building at 1403 Grand avenue gave way the roof and second floor of the building at 1405 caved in. In the latter building Louis Lustig conducted a grocery store and the second floor was used as rooming house, occupied by Mrs. Edna Cooley. Persons in this place failed to get out when the first rumbling noise was heard. When the front wall fell to the sidewalk Mrs. Cooley and Flora Everest, a roomer, were in the front room and were dropped to the sidewalk with the falling walls. Mrs. Cooley was in bed at the time of the accident. Two men were also pitched out the front part of the building Charles Graham, a hack driver who was in the house, ran out the back way.

Only the clerk, J. B. Routh, was in the grocery store. He escaped through the rear door when he heard the crash. Mr. Lustig was standing in front of his store and his driver, Clinton Smith, was in the yard in the rear. The building at 1405 Grand Avenue is owned by A. P. Thurman.

Mr. Dose estimated his loss at about $3,000. He did not know whether his insurance covered accidents or not. He said his stock of goods was not damaged, but the bar fixtures are a total loss. He erected a small frame shed in the rear of his saloon and will continue in business there until he can secure a location. Mr. Lustig could not estimate what his loss would be.

Forty-five years ago two frame buildings collapsed in the same block in which the buildings fell yesterday. In one of the buildings was Josephine E. Vaughn, sister of the desperado Vaughn, who was caught among the falling timbers and killed. Those buildings were erected in 1857, and their collapse was occasioned in the same manner which ruined the buildings yesterday afternoon. At 1302 Grand avenue a frame building collapsed about eighteen years ago. No one was injured in the accident.