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118 THE JOHNSTOWN FLOOD.

entire roof of the hotel had been carried off. Catching hold of something I managed to pull myself up on to the roof. The roof had slid off and lay across the street. On the roof I had a chance to observe my surroundings. Down to the extreme edge of the roof I espied the proprietor of the hotel, Mr. Benford. He was nearly exhausted, and it required every effort for him to hold to the roof. Cautiously advancing, I managed to creep down to where he was holding. I tried to pull him up, but found I was utterly powerless. Mr. Benford was nearly as weak as myself, and could do very little toward helping himself. We did not give up, however, and in a few minutes, by dint of struggling and putting forth every bit of strength, Mr. Benford managed to crawl upon the roof. Crouching and shivering on another part of the roof were two girls, one a chamber-maid of the hotel, and the other a clerk in a store that was next to it. The latter was in a pitiable plight. Her arm had been torn from its socket. I took off my overcoat and gave it to her. Mr. Benford did the same thing for the other, for it was quite chilly. A young man was nursing his mother, who had her scalp completely town off. He asked me to hold her head until he could make a bandage. He tore a thick strip of cloth and placed it round her head. The blood saturated it before it was well on. Soon after this I was rescued more dead than alive."


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Last Updated: 30 Mar 2008
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Lynne Canterbury and Diann Olsen