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THE AWFUL FIRE AT A FRENCH THEATRE. The Opéra. Comique, situated in the Place BoÏeldieu, Paris, was destroyed by fire on Wednesday night last week; and although the panic which usually attends such disasters was averted, and the audience mostly escaped, there was unfortunately serious loss of life among the employs. "Le Chalet and Mignon" were the pieces down for performance. The night being a popular one, at reduced prices, the theatre, which was calculated to accommodate about two thousand persons, was crowded. The fire, which was discovered shortly before nine o'clock, broke out on the stage in the middle of the first act of "Mignon," and is believed to have been caused by the gas coming in contact with the upper part of the scenery, whence it spread to the curtain, burning pieces of which fell on to the stage. One of the actors advanced to the foot- light", telling the spectators that nothing was the matter; but he had scarcely spoken when the stage seemed enveloped in flames, and the actors fled with cries of terror which thrilled through the spectators. The audience then rushed to the doors, the con- fusion and terrcr being intensified by the turning off of the gas. The fire spread rapidly along the roof, the ceiling almost immediately fell in, and, when the firemen arrived, the whole building was hopelessly involved in flames. THE SEARCH AMONG THE RUINS. The Paris correspondent of the Times says The known deaths include those of Mrs. Paul George, of Dover; Mii's Jane Russell, her companion, of 8, Rue Balzsc; Mrs. Summers (formerly Miss Knowlee), Miss Mary Knowles, and Miss Winifred Knowles, of 77, Rue Courcelles. Next to the ballet dancers the largest contingent of victims is furnished by the upper galleries. From these galleries the spectators had the greatest difficulty in making their escape. Some were blinded by the smoke, which seems to have filled the upper part of the hall with frightful rapidity, and tried in vain to reach the doors until they fell down suffocated. Others in the wild rush to the staircases seems to have fallen, to have besn trampled upon, and never to have risen again. The greater number of the dead bodies re- covered show by lacerations en the face and hands that they have been crushed under the feet of the crowd passing over them. In general, these victims are women. An expression of terror marks the features in cases where they have not been scorched or lacerated. The struggle at the doors was evi- dently fearful. One door seems to have resisted all efforts made to open it, and the bodies collected there have their hands stretched towards it. Twenty-seven persons seem to have entered a small bar attached to the galleries, thinking it was a way out. Once inside they could not leave it. A thick smcke filled the place, and they were suffocated. The firemen, when they reacoed this spot, found the bodies crushed against each other, with arms and legs so locked together as to form one solid mass. Here and there one of the group had succeeded in raising a hand above the heads. The women for thomott part had bare heads and loose hair. Their torn dresses showed the struggle they bad passed through in their attempts to escape. The fire did not reach the bar in question, so bodies found there were not burnt but suffocated. The bodies found on the staircase between the upper and lower boxes show that death was due simply to suffocation. There was no trace of fire on them. Some of the women had their gloves fastened, and even their bonnets still tied under the chin, though displaced and crumpled. In one case, however, a woman's hair was dishevelled. The women were mostly stout and elderly, having succumbed in the fight for egress, and their faoes are lacerated and bruised. The men, too, were mostly obese. Their coat-tails had in many cases been torn off. The watches found on the bodies were all found to have stopped at O.lo or 9.20.. As the fire did not. break out till after nine, their unhappy owners must have been almost irome- diately suffocated or trampled to death. Moreover, a man, feeling overcome by the heat (the gas was flaming), was urged by his wife to leave, and on reaching the street perceived that a fire had broken out. As he had left just before the sparks fell* an(f heard the people stirring as he passed the first landing, this is another proof of the rapidity of the fire. IDENTIFYING THE DEAD. The identifications led to harrowing scenes. Hor- rible as the sight was, there are curiosity-hunters morbid enough to try and gain admission by pretend- ing to have missed a relative, but the imposition was easily detected. Two ballet dancers called in search of a comrade, and at the arrival of every batch of corpses made a painful inspection. A girl of 14, with her maid, came to inquire for an aunt, and was told that the body had already been identified and sent home. Some of the bodies of the ballet dancers were so burnt to a cinder that identification was impossible. Among the victims were M. Langerean, of Tours and his wife and daughter, who had gone up to attend a friend's wedding, and for the daughter to buy articles for her own approaching marriage. The day before the fatal fire they were at the wedding, Mdlle. Langereau, aged 18, being bridesmaid. Her youngest sister, aged 13, having been unwell, was at the last moment left behind at Tours. They told the hotel- keepei that they were going early to the Opera Comique to insure good seats. All three bodies were found in the passage cf the top gallery. The father's pocket contained 1500 francs, the daughter's a memo- randum-book recording how the days bad been spent. Among the bodies found was that of a girl in the lower gallery, apparently English, who wore a locket inscribed Mary." The fire is attributed to a current of air having blown the border of one of the wings against the gas. The iron curtain put up three years ago to separate the stage from the rest of the theatre in the event of the former catching fire either stuck fast, or. as it seems more likely, no attempt was made to lower it. The injured, except four who have since expired and a fifth, who is in a critical condition, are likely to recover, and only four are in the hospitals. Various benefits and entertain- ments are being arranged to raise money for the suf- ferers, and Madame Nevada Palmer telegraphed from London her readiness to assist. Madame Furtado Heine subscribed 1500fr., and a grant for the relief of the sufferers was made by the French Government A GHASTLY SPECTACLE. The Standard Paris correspondent stated that all the corpses found in the ruins of the Opera Comique were transferred from the mayoralty of the Rue Drouot to the Morgue. The whole of Paris may be said to have gone to see the transfer. A. more ghastly sight the imagination could not conceive. Every scene in fiction is weak compared with this sinister reality. The girders of the roof bristled up in vigorous curls. From a mass of rubbish one saw a leg or an arm protruding. A hundred and fifty d(ad were owned to, and there were about seventy injured. It is certain that a number of the occupants of the first tier and balcony were killed. What, then, must have been the fate of the majority of those who were high up ? The house was very well filled. It will be a consolation to those who have lost friends and relatives to hear that in a great many instances suffocation was so rapid that the faces of those who so came by their death bad not time to lose the pleased expression which they wore before the fire declared itself. Attention was called to the elegance of the toilettes of not a few ladies who were in evening dress, and to the fine quality of the boots stockings, shoes, and socks of a majority of the victims. One body extricated from the ruins was that of Miss S. Cundell, which was identified by her father who lives in Kensington. The work of clearing away the debris was attended with considerable difficulty. PARIS, May 28.-The official number of the dead bodies recovered from the ruins was given on Saturday morning as 75. The authorities estimated that it would reach at least 100, besides those of whom all trace is lost. Mr. Knowles, of Gloucester, went over to Paris, and was able to identify the members of his family who lost their lives. The state funeral of 22 of the victims of the fire at the Opdra Comique took place at Pere Lachaise on Monday, after a funeral service at Notre Dame. It is still feared that the worst of the disaster is not yet known, as the authorities are suspected of a desire to underrate the number of the dead. The Daily Chronicle correspondent in Paris, writing on Tuesday night, said: "No less than 112 persons have now been declared to be missing at the Pre- fecture de Police. I have asked for the list in order to publish the English or American names. This has, however, been refused, on the ground that they belong to the domain of private life."

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