Cards Stacked for Conflagration in Mill Buildings

Issue 2 and Volume 122.

Cards Stacked for Conflagration in Mill Buildings The cards were stacked for a conflagration long before fire leveled an industrial complex at Palmer, Mass., and caused a $20 million loss, the largest industrial fire loss in the history of New England. All the buildings were fully sprinklered, but the water system was reported to be inadequate. The Bondsville Fire Department, which protects the Bondsville district of Palmer where the fire occurred, had repeatedly been turned down by the voters in its quest for a bond issue to replace two World War II vintage pumpers of questionable reliability and capacity. The pine plank floors of the factory buildings were soaked with oil from textile machinery over a period of many years. A 1,000-gpm electric mill pump was out of service because of a short circuit reported to have occurred at least three weeks before the fire. Power fines burned 10 minutes…

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