“Cottage Row” Fire

Photo by M. Hermann/BHB

Photo by M. Hermann/BHB

An early morning fire did damage to one of several historic structures, once referred to locally as “Cottage Row.”  The building, located at 9 Columbia Pl., near Joralemon St., is one of nine of its kind built in the 1840s.  Firefighters were on the scene shortly before 2:30 this morning, and discovered fire between the first and second floors of the frame structure.  Other than a couple slips on the icy sidewalk, no injuries were reported.  The cause of the fire couldn’t be immediately determined, and the Fire Marshals will investigate.

One of the building’s past residents would undoubtedly have reasons to be suspicious.  In 1876, the house was occupied by Michael J. Allen, a member of the Democratic General Committee of Kings County and the First Ward Democratic Association.  A not-so-friendly neighbor from Furman Street, Thomas Shanley, was a Republican with aspirations of becoming First Ward Alderman.  Shanley’s attempts at attaining that office, however, were unsuccessful, and there was talk that he cast the blame on Allen.

Late in the evening of August 24, 1876, Allen was standing on the corner of Court St. and Joralemon St., when Shanley approached him from behind with a pistol, and fired a shot into his back.  The wounded Allen pursued Shanley towards Fulton St.  The sound of the shot attracted the attention of some nearby cops, who took Shanley into custody.  The assailant apparently told his arresting officers that he had good cause for his actions, and that he’d explain everything at a proper time.  Meanwhile, Allen, described as a “fleshy man,” was treated by a doctor who reported a small wound near the shoulder blade that didn’t show any signs of bleeding.

This, of course, was in the days BEFORE Brooklyn Heights Blog sponsored civil debates between candidates for office.

Photo by M. Hermann/BHB

Photo by M. Hermann/BHB

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  • http://selfabsorbedboomer.blogspot.com Claude Scales

    Maybe BHB should start sponsoring paint gun duels for those less inclined to verbal dispute resolution.

    On a serious note: that’s a beautiful row of houses. I’m glad that no one was hurt, but hope that damage to the building was minimal.

  • Peter

    Is it me, or does Brooklyn Height have an alarmingly (no pun intended) large number of fires? I live relatively close to the firehouse on Middagh Street, and it seems like those trucks are bustling out of the gates with sirens blaring 3 or 4 times a day.

  • Ari

    I live across the street. To quote my girlfriend: “I woke up because i heard a loud truck and then a bunch of men’s voices talking very loudly” I guess that explains. Glad to know everyone is OK.

  • Fletcher

    So many building fires every year in Brooklyn Heights. Is it normal or are we a neighborhood of pyromanaics?

  • bornhere

    Peter – L118/E205 covers an area much larger than just the Heights; they spend a lot of energy addressing “stuck elevators” in surrounding housing projects, CO detector alarms, smoking manholes, emergencies on the other side of Atlantic Avenue, highway accidents, etc, etc. (The same goes for the 84 precinct — you would be amazed to see how large an area they cover).

  • nabeguy

    I live down the block from E205/L118 and 3/4 times a day seems like an inflated figure (unless they only get calls during the normal work hours when I’m not around). More like 3/4 times a week by my estimation.

  • Dino

    Here is one more image shot from across the street. These are really beautiful houses, remind me Norway..

  • http://www.myrtle-avenue.com/portfolio/main.html weegee

    In 2007, Engine 205 received 1,545 runs, 344 of which were medical calls. Only 94 were considered “occupied structural” fire incidents, of which even fewer could be considered “working fires.” Ladder 118 received 1,923 runs, of which 140 were “occupied structural” incidents. These include multiple-alarms in other areas (and even other boroughs) to which the companies may have been called. Compared with companies such as Engine 290/Ladder 103 in East New York (5,350 & 4,062 alarms responded to, with 507 & 610 occupied structural incidents, respectively), 205/118 isn’t considered a hotbed of activity. Some old-timers on the job jokingly give it with the designation of “The Busiest Firehouse on Middagh Street.”

  • AliG

    Dino, what a cool photo. It actually looks like a movie set.

  • nabeguy

    Well, shut my mouth, Weegee. By your figures, 205 is averaging 4 calls a day, so I stand corrected. Given that my house is wood frame, I’m simply glad to have them down the block!

  • Peter

    Ahhh, so my estimation of 3-4 times per day was right on par, interesting (as I pat myself on the back) …

  • Tom

    Great photo Dino. I am a fireman at L110. we were the second due truck at this fire. Any chance you could send me the Jpeg image and anyothers you have of it? Its always nice to have some photos at the firehouse of the brothers in action. If anyone else has any photos they are of course welcome. Thank you in advance.

  • Dino

    AliG & Tom – thanks guys ! It didn’t took much, just point and shoot, I guess guys outside including Tom had more fun, especially at 3am !

    Tom, I only have one more photo (just scroll down) at the website http://www.indus3.net/temp/fire.htm
    To save the image, right-click on it and choose save-as. It will allow you to save it into file.

  • Anonymous

    AliG: Funny that you mention movie set. Those houses were actually part of a movieset sometime between 93-95. It might have been “Bullets over Broadway” with Woddy Allen, but my memory is very vague in that matter.

  • David on Middagh

    “…it seems like those trucks are bustling out of the gates with sirens blaring 3 or 4 times a day.”

    Drivers seem to have different styles. When I first moved here in the 90’s, exits were noisy. For a few years in the early 2000’s, exits were quieter. That was nice! Now they are noisier than ever, with much horn honking in addition to the siren.

  • Anonymous

    Considering that the trucks are going against the one way street on Middagh to either Henry or Cadman Plaza I do appreciate the sirens as a pedestrian or driver. At least I am aware that something is coming towards me unlike the delivery people on their bicycles.