The papers ran colorful accounts of an 1897 fire in a Manhattan apartment building that was started by a cat fight. That in itself was newsworthy, but the description of the ensuing escape by the residents reminds us of a Three Stooges comedy.
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According to the Sun, Mrs. Johnson and Mrs. McIlvaney, who lived in the back rooms behind the Gallaghers, tried to make it down the stairs at the same time. Both women were “stout and short of breath,” and they ended up getting wedged together on the first-floor landing.
The two women began fighting and pushing at each other, both refusing–or unable–to budge. Finally, the firemen arrived and, “after some difficulty,” they were able to some kind of wedge tool to separate the women.
I have no idea if any firemen were able to get past the women in order to get to the fire, or if the fire continued to burn until the human “blockage” was removed. Either way, as I like to say, you can’t make this stuff up.
Considering the fun the newspapers had with the incident, we are glad to find that no one was hurt. “The only other damage was to the tempers of Mrs. Johnson and Mrs. McIlvaney.” But what you’ll want to know is the story of the cats who started the blaze, which you can read at The Hatching Cat.