It becomes our painful duty to record the details of another dreadful calamity, which occurred in the upper part of the city yesterday, and resulted in the loss of several human lives, and a number of workmen being injured to such an extent that it is feared they cannot survive. The particulars of the heartrending catastrophe are as follows:
A large five-story brick building, 50 feet front and 40 feet deep, together with two large dwelling-houses, belonging to Henry Bittner, Esq., residing in Third-avenue, between Thirty-first and Thirty-second-streets, were rapidly approaching completion...
The two front buildings are situated in Thirty-second-street, between Third and Lexington avenues, and the other was erected to the rear of them, fronting on Thirty-third-street, and designed to be occupied by the owner as a morocco dressing manufactory; upon this building the masonry work had been completed, and Mr. Weaver was engaged with his journeymen in the completion of the top story, such as topping off with the rafters. We here give an accurate description of the fatal premises. There was a deep cellar, and the first floor was primarily supported with three girders, the main one in the center being temporarily propped up with four slight joist uprights, and one heavy timber, 4x9 inches; each of the other four floors were constructed in precisely the same way, and instead of the girders being supported with props, they should have been thoroughly braced, and supported by heavy locust uprights. The building was erected on made ground, the original surface in the vicinity being a quagmire, and the very spot was well known some years ago as the "Sun-fish Pond." The structure was run up, it is said, in a very short space of thirty days, and from the appearance of the bricks, mortar, and timbers, as noticed among the heap of ruins, it was the general opinion that the building was very carelessly and slightly built...
SAVED-- A miraculous escape from being hurled into eternity occurred as follows, in the case of the foreman of Messrs. FIELDERS, named JAMES SLAVEN: It appears be was in the basement of the building when the girder cracked, which startled him, and he instantly leaped out of the side-door, and the instant he struck his feet upon the ground the whole building was prostrated; thus Mr. SLAVEN had a providential escape.
Two other mechanics, named PATRICK SLAVEN and PATRICK CASSEY, were also saved from being crushed beneath the ruins, and in a great measure they are indebted to the foreman for their safety, as he warned them of their perilous situation, the moment he heard the girder crack, and they instantly jumped out of a window. The workmen continued their labors up to about 5 o'clock last evening, when they finished the job of removing the ruins; no other bodies were found, up to the time our Reporter left.
With regard to the real cause of the calamitous affair, the opinions of Mr. R. D. FIELDER, the mason builder, and that of JAMES SLAVEN, his foreman, conflict, as the former was inclined to believe the catastrophe originated by the girder of the lower floor giving way first, while the other person stated he was convinced the cause was, as we have given in another part of this report. The materials, and cost of erecting the demolished premises, is estimated at about $3000, which loss will fall heavily upon the contractors. Coroner IVES was notified to investigate the painful accident, and will therefore hold the inquest to-day.
New York (New York) Daily Times, December 8, 1852.