Defective Wiring Held Responsible for Blaze—Fire-Fighters Delayed by Standing Freight Cars 60 Mile Wind

NINE firemen were injured, luckily none serious, in fighting a fire that destroyed the superstructure ot a pier of the Pennsylvania Railroad along the Jersey City, N. J., waterfront, a warehouse, five loaded freight cars and fifteen empty cars and damaged two lumber yards on March 3. Defective wiring in the office of Pier K is blamed for the cause.

All of the fire equipment in Jersey City and the fire boats from New York city could not combat with the sixty-mile wind which was blowing at the time. One of the fire captains stated that were it not for a string of freight cars which delayed the apparatus for twenty minutes, the fire could have been confined to the place of origin.

Heavy Clouds of Black Smoke Hampered the Firemen in Fighting this Jersey City Water Front Fire

The fire was fought under the most adverse conditions. The warehouse contained scrap rubber and lumber and this made a heavy black pall of smoke which hung over the scene and leisurely spread out towards the harbor. Most of the lumber stored in the yards was destroyed. Two frame structures, one a freight house and the other a machine shop, went up like tinder.

Chief Roger Boyle of Jersey City said that this was one of the worst fires that ever visited the city. Luckily the acrid smoke which caused the firemen to leave the scene frequently to obtain fresh air, did not cause a tie up in shipping and railroad service. At one time there were forty tug boats belonging to the railroad lined up pouring water onto the sheds. There was not sufficient pressure to force the streams onto the burning freight cars.

Wreckage of the Jersey City Fire, with the Tops of Distant Sky-Scrapers of New York City Appearing Through the Haze

The fire was discovered at 4:20 a.m. by an engineer of a drill engine in the yards. It was not long before a second alarm was turned in and a call sent to New York city for assistance. The fire boats John Purroy Mitchell and the New Yorker were soon sent across the river. They poured immense quantities of water into the black curtain of smoke which prevented them from seeing just what they were doing. Forty rookie firemen from Jersey City were dispatched to the scene to get actual practice—and they did.

More than twelve hours after the fire, there were still four companies on the scene wetting down the burning timber. Due to the large pier facilities of the Pennsylvania Railroad, freight and train service were not hampered.

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