Monday morning between one and two o'clock, as a patrole was going his
rounds in Whitechapel, he saw smoke issuing from the windows of the house of
Mr. Aaron ORAM, linen draper, opposite the London Hospital. He sprung his
rattle for assistance, but before anyone arrived the lower part of the house was
enveloped in flames. The most distressing scene that can possibly be
conceived, now presented itself; the family, consisting of Mr. ORAM, his wife, eleven
children, and three servants, were shrieking for aid from the upper windows of
the house. There was no possibility to their escaping but through the windows,
and no ladders were near, nor was there any communication with the adjoining
Mr. ORAM, his wife, and their son (a youth of 17 years of age), threw
himself from a second floor window. Mrs. ORAM was caught by the watchman, and
received but a trifling injury; Mr. ORAM escaped most miraculously, without
any fracture of his limbs; the son unfortunately had his leg broken, and
sustained other serious injury.
As soon as Mr. and Mrs. ORAM recovered themselves they called out for
their children in the greatest agony. The youth was carried to a neighbouring
surgeon. By this time ladders had been brought to the premises, and the two
adjoining houses (occupied by Mrs. ROSS, a milliner and a Mr. LAZARUS) were on
fire. The ladders were placed against the house of Mr. ORAM, and the servants
and seven of the children were taken out of the windows of the upper stories.
When the seventh child was taken from the window, the flame and smoke rushed
from the upper part of the premises, and the servant man, who was on the ladder
for the purpose of assisting the three remaining children from the burning
pile, was compelled to save his own life, to slide down the ladder, leaving the
unfortunate little creatures at the window crying for relief, which no human
power could render them. The agonized feelings of the parents, it is
impossible to describe; they saw their infants stretching forth their little hands,
until the furious element hid them from their view.
The mother was taken to a neighbouring house, in a state bordering on
madness. The father, frantic with the agony of feeling, called aloud for his
children, but alas! the poor little innocents, consisting of a boy six years,
another seven and a third nine years of age, perished in the flames. While the
neighbours were assisting Mr. and Mrs. ORAM, a gang of thieves stole property
to a considerable amount.
The engines did not arrive until the premises were nearly destroyed.
Mr. LAZARUS's house was occupied chiefly by lodgers; they rushed out in a state
of nudity, and were received into neighbour's houses, and supplied with
covering. They unfortunately did not have a single article of their apparel, or any
The house of Mrs. ROSS was destroyed, and no property saved.
The body of one of Mrs. ORAM's children (the eldest that was burnt),
was dug out of the ruins yesterday morning, burnt to a cinder. The other bodies
were not found yesterday evening.