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Black Ribbon John B. Peralta Black Ribbon

John B. Peralta, Truckman - November 11, 1893 (#34)
Badge No. 44
Appointed, June 17, 1888
Hook & Ladder Co. No. 3 - 1421 Market Street


Box 182 - N. E. corner Sixth & Townsend – 12:15 A.M.

John Peralta, of Truck 3, was killed in the performance of his duty at the fire of the Wisconsin and California Furniture Companies, Nos. 520-524 King street, between Seventh and Eighth streets; being overcome by heat and smoke, became unconscious and was burned to death.

Fire loss, $117,000.

Mrs. Susie Peralta, widow of John B. Peralta member of Truck Company No. 3, Pensioned March 9. 1906. Effective March 1, 1906




King Street the Scene of an Early Morning Conflagration —The Loss About $20,000.

1983 November 11

The alarm from box 182 at 12:15 o'clock this morning was for a fire in the building 524 King street, between Seventh and Eighth, occupied by the Wisconsin Furniture Company and the California Furniture Company, their combined stocks being valued at $18,000, on which the insurance was $12,000.

The fire, which is supposed to have started from burning oil in the lower part of the building, rapidly spread and the entire structure was soon in flames.

At 1:30 o'clock the fire seemed to be under control, but a few moments later flames burst out from the roof and Chief Sullivan, at 1:55, ordered a second alarm turned in.

It was then seen that the building, which was a two story and basement frame structure, would prove a total loss.

As it stood alone, however, there appeared to be no danger of the fire communicating to the neighboring buildings unless through the agency of flying sparks.

Soon after 2 o'clock there was a terrific crash and one of the walls fell. The cry at once went up that several men belonging to engine companies 4. 9 and 10 had been buried under the blazing timbers. The alarming report proved unfounded, the men having got to places of safety in time. Several of them, however, received slight injuries.

Frank McLaughlin of truck 1 was taken to the Receiving Hospital to have his left foot treated, it having been pierced by a rusty nail.
Source: San Francisco Call, Volume 74, Number 164, 11 November 1893 — DISASTROUS FIRE. [ARTICLE]




Burned to a Crisp in the King-Street Fire.
The Owners' Heavy Losses.
Aftermath of a Costly Conflagration. Damage Placed at $100,000. A Firm's Luck.

1893 November 12

The body of John Peralta, a fireman of No. 3 Truck Company, stationed on Market street, between Tenth and Eleventh, lies on a slab in the Morgue. He was a brave fellow, who risked and lost his life at the fire on King street yesterday morning.

The alarm was rung in from box 182 at 12:15 o'clock. There had been a slight blaze, it is said, in the large frame building owned by the Wisconsin Furniture Company, on King street, early in the evening. When the flames broke out in the morning they are said to have started from a shed adjoining the warehouse, filled with oil, and owned by the California. Furniture Company, which occupied one floor of the burned structure.

At 1 o'clock the firemen thought they had gained control of the blaze, but a half an hour later, when members of 10, 9 and 13 companies were in the building, there was an explosion of varnish, which threw several of the firemen upon the floor. They rushed to the windows and were rescued, with the exception of Peralta, by their coworkers. It was not known at the time that any one was left in the building.

The flames spread along the roof, and at 1:55 o'clock the interior was full of fire, and a second alarm was rung in. The firemen and the employes (sic) of the Underwriters' Fire Patrol worked like slaves to save, the contents of the building, but their efforts were futile. Bureaux, lounges, beds, tables and chairs of the most costly woods were licked up by the flames, and at 4 o'clock nothing remained of the big structure and its contents but a heap of fiery ashes and smoldering timbers, hiding the charred body of Peralta.

The fire was discovered by Special Kenlin, who turned in the alarm. It bad then gained considerable headway. On the lower floor the California Furniture Company, whose salesrooms are on Geary street, between Kearny arid Dupont, had stock valued at $33,000, which was insured. The company is congratulating itself today because several carloads of goods ordered for the holidays and expected daily had not arrived.

The building was valued at $16,000. It was owned by the Wisconsin Furniture Company, whose salesrooms are at 762 Mission street. The company's goods stored in the building were valued at $55,000 and were insured for $50,000.

When the second alarm was turned in it was plain that the burning building could not be saved, and he firemen were accordingly ordered to turn their water on to the adjoining buildings, one of which, on the corner of Seventh and King streets, is occupied by the American Oil Company, which it was feared would catch fire and explode. At one time it was thought that the fire was under control, but the flames seemed to break out afresh, and it was at this time that the roof of the building fell in.

Among the firemen injured by the explosion are: W. Cronin, engine 9, face burned; D. Bridgewood, engine 9, hands and face burned; James .Buckley, engine 6, hands burned; John Conroy, engine 17, hands burned, and J. Ryan, engine 10, hands burned.

After the explosion of the varnish the building was doomed and nothing could be done but save surrounding buildings, the most dangerous of which was the factory of the Golden City Chemical Works, just opposite, on Townsend street. The building contained several hundred tons of sulphur and other chemicals which, the foreman of the factory said, had they caught fire would have made it almost death for very person within a hundred yards of the place from the poisonous gases that would have burst out. The building was on fire several times.

East of the blazing furniture factory were the oil factories of Graham & Co. and the American Oil Company, and they were only saved with great difficulty. Several times they caught fire, but the flames were extinguished. In both factories great quantities of oils were stored, and two or three times the roofs of both of them were on fire. The loss on the factories is about $2000 each.

West of the furniture factory was a large frame building, occupied by G. W. Straight, folding-bed manufacturer. The roof was burned off and the contents of the place drenched with water. Mr. Straight places his loss at about $4000.

The firemen, assisted by fifty laborers furnished by the Street Department, worked upon the ruins until late yesterday afternoon, when they managed to subdue the flames and recover the body of Peralta, who it is thought was crushed by the falling roof, just after the explosion of varnish. About 2 o'clock in the afternoon the workmen found the body. A hand and a foot of the dead fireman were protruding through the heap of hot ashes when they were discovered. His companions in the fire company say that he entered the building with them and was struck by a timber just after the explosion. They thought that he had escaped with them.

Peralta was 36 years old. He leaves a widow and child, who live at 331/2 Ridley street. He was a painter, employed by the California-street Railway Company.

The losses, besides those sustained by the furniture companies were: Warehouse of C. W. Straight, 629 and 633 Townsend street, $150; American Oil Company, $100; building on the corner of Seventh and King streets, $150. and saloon and dwelling kept by Mrs. G. F. Maynard, $50.
Source: San Francisco Call, Volume 74, Number 165, 12 November 1893 — HE WAS CREMATED [ARTICLE]


Arrangements for John Peralta's Funeral This Afternoon.

1893 November 13

The funeral of John Peralta, the fireman who lost his life at the fire in the Wisconsin Furniture Company's warehouse on Friday night, will take place from his late residence, 33 1/2 Ridley street, at 2 o'clock this afternoon.

There will be the usual detail from the Fire Department at the funeral, and as Peralta was a; member of Battery H, Second Artillery, N. G. C., it is expected the battery will also turn out in full force. He was also a member of California Council, American .Legion of Honor, and it is expected there will be a delegation from that body. The remains will be interred in Calvary Cemetery, Lone Mountain. The pallbearers will be selected from the firemen, and artillerymen. The front of the building on Market street, between Tenth and Eleventh, occupied by Hook and Ladder 3, of which Peralta was a member, is draped in black and white.

Foreman Waters spoke very highly of the deceased yesterday. He said he was a most cautious and fearless fireman, and he believed he had become confused by the dense smoke, had lost his way in the building and been suffocated before the roof fell in.
Source: San Francisco Call, Volume 74, Number 166, 13 November 1893 — THE DEAD FIREMAN. [ARTICLE]



An Extraordinary Coincidence at the Funeral of Fireman John Peralta.

1893 November 14

An extraordinary coincidence during the funeral yesterday of John Peralta, the fireman who lost his life in the King-street conflagration, excited a profound sensation among the mourners around the grave.

Hardly had the echoes of the parting salute fired by the cadets over the remains "trembled away into silence" when the solemn succeeding hush was rudely broken by the strident insistance (sic) of the fire-alarm bell. Slowly and with pitiless callousness the strokes announced No. 182, and then the thrilling conviction forced itself on the listeners that it bad been an alarm from this identical box winch bad summoned John Petalta to his doom. The same fire, which had proved fatal to him had rekindled, and it appeared to the mourners as if the cruel, insatiable element was exulting over its brave victim in harsh mockery. All of the bitter memories of their loss was reawakened in the breast of the mourners by the bell and a heartrending scene of grief ensued.

The funeral took place from the family residence and was largely attended. The remains rested in a handsome casket, lined with an American flag presented to the deceased's company in 1860. A large number of floral offerings bad been sent, many exhibiting symbols of the various organizations with which the deceased was identified. Shortly after 2 o'clock the remains were conveyed to St. Joseph's Church, on the corner of Tenth and Howard streets. The procession was headed by the Third Infantry regimental band, followed by a detachment of Company H, Third Regiment, N. G. C, Captain. J. H. Leo. Then came the hearse, guarded on either side by the eight pallbearers, followed by carriages containing the chief mourners. The rear was brought up by a long line of firemen, representing all of the companies composing the local Fire Department, and led by District Engineers G. W. Cannard and Edward Kittredge.

At the church Rev. Father Smith conducted the services, after which the procession resumed its course to Mount Calvary Cemetery, where the remains were laid in their last resting place. The pallbearers were: William Muenter, J. Riordan, P. Prince and Thomas Uyene of the National Guard, and M. Sheehan, P. Sullivan, F. Donnally and B. S. Wilson of 3 Truck.
Source: San Francisco Call, Volume 74, Number 167, 14 November 1893 — AS IN MOCKERY. [ARTICLE]


1893 November 15

Superintendent Ackerson of the Street Department had a very busy time on last Saturday and was kept on the go from early in the morning until almost 3 o'clock the next morning. Superintendent Ackerson personally superintended the tearing up of the Bush-street railway tracks, and while engaged in this work received notification from the Fire Department of the conflagration on King street, the request being made that he detail some men to try to extricate the body of the dead fireman, Peralta. Superintendent Ackerson immediately responded to the call and had in a short time a large force of men looking for the unfortunate fireman's body, which was soon discovered. Yesterday he received the following letter in regard to the matter:

Hon. William Ackerson, Superintendent of Streets

— Dear Sir: 1 desire to express my thanks and that of the Fire Department for the promptness on your part in sending men to the fire on Saturday morning last to help recover the remains or the unfortunate fireman who lost his life In the discharge of his duty.

Very respectfully yours,
John Dougherty

Extracted from original sources with grammar and spelling as published.

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