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FEARFUL ACCIDENT AT A ROMAN…

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FEARFUL ACCIDENT AT A ROMAN CATHOLIC CHAPEL AT LIVERPOOL. FIFTEEN PERSONS CRUSHED TO DEATH. A frightful disaster has occurred at the Roman Catholic chapel of St. Joseph, Grosvenor-street, Rose-hilL On Sunday evening, the concluding of a series of mass ser- vices, conducted by several Pasionist Fathers, took place. The building was crowded to excess, and, for the accom- modation of those who could not obtain admission to the chapel, another service was held in the schoolroom be- neath, one of the means of egress from both chapel and schoolroom being a door six feet wide. In the course of the service the people in the schoolroom became alarmed, it is believed, by a cry of fire. A panic seized them, and they rushed to the door-way. The alarm extended itself to tnose in the chapel; a stream of people came pouring out, eager to make their escape; and in the dreadful crush no fewer than fifteen persons were killed, while a number of others were very seriously injured. One account says- A body of Passionist Fathers conducted a mission in the church, which on each occasion that it was opened was densely crowded, and the result of the mission has been apparent in the diminution of drunkenness and crime in that particular quarter of the town. Last evening the mission was brought to a close, and long before the time fixed for the commencement of the service an immense crowd gathered round the entrance to the chapel, caus- I s ing serious apprehensions of an accident. This, however, was averted by the prudential conduct of Father Bridges, who addressed the crowd, and refused to open the doors of the church until the people was perfectly quiet. They were then admitted three at a time, and eventually most of the crowd found seats or standing room in the church; but for those who could not obtain admittance a supple- mental service was conducted in the schoolroom beneath, by Father Alphonsus. During the progress of this service a drunken man staggered into the schoolroom and pushed his way through the crowd towards where the officiating priest stood, and shouted out, I've heard you long enough." Some of the congregation rose from their seats and attempted to turn the fellow out, when a row ensued, and the windows were broken. In the midst of this dis- turbance, which probably would have calmed down in a few moments, some person raised the cry of Fire upon the landing, so that the alarm was distinctly heard both in the church above and in the schoolroom beneath. As might be expected, a panic ensued. The people arose from their seats, and young and old, men and women, rushed to the only modes of egress from the schoolroom and the church, each intent upon saving his own life. Father Bridges, who was in the sacristy at the time, rushed into the body of the church and with a stentorian voice besought the people to retain their seats. In this laudable endeavour he was seconded by Father Raphel, one of the officiating priests, and with the greatest diffi- culty they succeeded in inducing hundreds of the people to resume their seats, or the loss of life would probably have been very much larger than that which we have now to deplore. Those who were nearest the doors, both in the church and in the schoolroom, with difficulty reached the street in safety; but in a moment the staircases were one jammed living mass, each person anxious to save his own life without respect to the safety of those around him. As usual, amongst the congregation there was a large propor- tion of women, whose fearful screams increased the horror of the scene, until several of them sank to the ground from sheer exhaustion, and mingling with men and children were trodden under foot, many of them being soon suffo- cated, and others seriously injured. In another account it is saidâ While the services were going on in the chapel and in the schoolroom, a man, who was said to be in drink, and smoking at the time, forced his way down into the school- room, and called out to the clergyman who was officiating, "I have heard you long enough." Some persons who were near the brawler attempted to eject him. It is stated that he then shouted "Fire," and rushed from the building. A scene of indescribable alarm and confusion ensued. The worshipers in the schoolroom imagined that the chapel above was on fire. A circumstance took place just at this time, which added greatly to the consternation of those in the building. The majority of the congregation in the body of the chapel had brought with them wax candles to be blessed. At the time the cry of fire was raised these candles were lighted, and the glare caused by the illumination led to the belief that the building actually was on fire. Those who were in the schoolroom attempted to force their way into the street. The narrow staircase and doorway soon beoame blocked up with a seething multitude, who, in their alarm, struggled to escape from the building. The cry of fire had been heard, too, by the worshipers who crowded the staircase leading to the chapel and those under the northern gallery. They were seized with panic, and, imagining that the schoolroom was in flames, rushed wild- ly down the stairs to the landing. It was here that the two crowds-one coming from the schoolroom and the other from the chapel aboveâmet. A terrible scene followed. The people fought and struggled to reach the narrow street. The doorway, however, was soon blocked up, and escape by this means became impossible. Loud cries of alarm were raised; the cry of Fire continued; and the panic increased. Strong men fought and struggled with each other to reach the street; the shrieks of the women and children told of the terrible alarm that had seized them. Some persons near the spot attempted to compose the multitude, but still the struggle continued. Women and children and old men were knocked down and trodden to death under foot, or suffocated in the terrible crush. The inquest was opened on Monday, but evidence of identification only was taken, with a view to allow of interment taking place. The inquiry was then adjourned until Friday next. .i--

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ROLLS' COURT, CHANCERY-LANE,…

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