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vur Janban Corrtspoubcni.


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iBURNING OF THE OPERA COMIQUE IN PARIS. TERRIBLE SCENES. The Daily -Yea's Pa:is correspondent telegraphed as follows on Wednesday night:—" About a fort- night ago M. Steeriaokera called attention in the Chamber to the dangerous state of the Opera Comique Theatre witn its windy passages and single narrow staircase for the public of the boxes and galleries. As to the staircase to the green-room and dressing-rooms it was hardly wider than a ladder, noarly as steep, and just above the flies, so that if a lire broke out behind the scenes nobody who was in the apartments above-named could escape. It was admitted that all JVC. Steenackers bad said was true, but an opera house could not bo changed in a day, and it was impossible to widen that of the Opera Comique. There were but two sets of stairs in the whole building, and they were narrow, for the simple reason that an inch more space could not be allowed them. However, the police regulations already existing would be rigidly enforced to prevent the possibility of fire. Whether they were or were not allowed to remain a dead letter we shall see when inquiry has been made as to the causes which have, as I write, reduced the theatre in which Auber brought out all his operatic works to a heap of cinders. To-night (Wednesday) at about half-past nine o'clock, I was startled by the fierce, lurid light that was projected into the office of the Daily News in the Rue de Quatre Septembre. On opening a window, the north wind, which has been blowing, sent in a shower, not of sparks, but of burning lumps of charcoal. Behind the houses opposite arose the greatest fire that I think I ever saw in all my life. When I ran down into the street there was a scene of the moat frightful confusion, owing to the circulation of the Rues de Richelieu, St. Marc, and Feydeau having been stopped, and all the traffic turned into the Rue du Quatre Septembre. The falling embers which came down as thick and hot as if Vesuvius were at work, burned into the hides of many of the horses, which became, m consequence, furiously restive. The strong percherons of the omnibuses reared and tore about regardless of rein and driver's whip, or anything that some courageous bystanders could do. Under the shelter of an umbrella, which I had previously drenched under a water tap, and which the Scotch mist that was falling wouid I hoped keep moist, I proceeded towards the place whence the flames arose. A dense crowd poured in the same direction, and I was taken in the stream which brought me into the Rue St. Marc, close to the Place de l'Opera Comique. It seemed as if flames were shooting horizontally from most of the windows, and a cone of flame from which embers tossed about so as to make it resemble a llU¡"e fiery fountain arose from where the roof had been. There were a few ladders against some windows, and women and children were being taken down by men. 1 Eliwothers throw them- selves out from a topmost story. Sometimes a figure was seen wildly darting past a window across the background of tire, and then it was seen no more. A man in a super's drets came out of an attic, and must have bung on for nearly five minutes by an iron bar. He was rescued in the end, but I should say he was the last who could be saved by a ladder, the flames that kept belching out of every issue being so terrible that nobody could stay even in the space which surrounds three sides of the Opera Comique. When all who had gathered there were driven into the narrow streets opening on the Place de l'Opera Comique, I thought most of those who were near me, and myself among the number, must have been crushed to death. We were caught between one crowd driven back by the scorching heat, and another impelled in a contrary direction by curiosity and a love of excitement. A more terrible spectacle it would be hard to imagine. I was near the wall, and after a few moments squeezed my way into a wine shop, where there were mothers and other relatives of figurantes, some of whom bad been in the concierge's lodge of the opera house when the fire broke out, and others had rushed in through a back and private entrance from the square. One would have said that most of them were paralysed with terror, and with the emotions which crowded upon them in a few moments. When I was there a figurante was carried along who had just left the stage and gone up to her dressing- room. She was frightfully scorched, and in acute pain. There was nothing in the wine shop to alleviate her cruel sufferings until somebody was able to find a little salad oil in a cruet. The dresser told me that there were 150 chorus singers and others on the stage when the fire broke out. It happened towards the end of the first act of Mignon." She, and the women with her, heard glass falling, and thought that it must hava been caused by a hailstorm breaking with I violence over the theatre, which had many skylights. She called to some girls not to mind it, but to make haste and get through their business. As she spoke there was a roar, and a column of flame mounted the stair and burst into the wardrobe room where she was. She was luckily able to escape through the window, which fortunately opened on a gutter, where she remained until she was rescued. Several of those who were with her got out. Some of them in their fright and hurry, knocked each other over, and they must have been all killed save the figurante who was so badly burnt. I suppose I was 25 minutes out of the Daily News Paris office before the fire brigade came on the scene. It was appalling to see the difficulties it had to contend with in advancing through the choked-up street on which I looked. I got away from the wine shop and into another street, also debouching on the Place de l'Opera Comique. There was nothing to be seen but flame and steam. The fire, to judge from the dazzling glow on the houses opposite, and on the sea of human heads, must have been fiercer than ever. Horses were frightened, and had to be goaded in by the bayonets of the Municipal Guards. The pressure caused by an attempt to make a lane gave rise to yelling and imprecation. Sparks fell down the backs of necks, and frenzied cries for help were raised. The crowd showed great pity and good feeling whenever an attempt was made to get an in- jured person through to a chemist's shop. I then went on to the Boulevards, where the bottom parts of the houses were in obscurity and the upper parts like the Alps in sunrise or in a glowing sunset- There was an immense crowd there, and in a short time another fire brigade came along at a rushing pace. The excitement was intense. A good deal of i's was caused by persons whose friends or relatives bad gone to see Mignon.



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