5-ALARM FIRE RAZES 5 STRUCTURES IN INDUSTRIAL SECTION OF PITTSBURGH
Flames Threaten Several Gasoline Service Stations in Area and a Nearby Large Baking Company Plant
ONE of the largest and most spectacular fires that have occurred in the Bloomfield manufacturing section of Pittsburgh in years swept through five buildings and a junk yard located on Liberty Avenue, between Main and Fisk Streets, injured two firemen and snarled traffic over several miles before it was brought under control by fifteen fire companies called on five alarms.
Starting from some cause unknown in a two-story frame and iron clad building occupied as a junk warehouse, the flames quickly spread through the entire structure and set fire to four other buildings, a two-story frame dwelling in the rear, a two-story frame and iron clad building used as an automobile repair shop, a two-story frame and iron clad building used as a storage warehouse for structural iron and steel and a one-story brick building used as a dog pound. All were destroyed by the quick spreading flames. The animals in the dog pound were released before the flames reached the structure.
When the first alarm companies arrived in command of Battalion Chief John P. Maroney, the flames had already gained great headway and were threatening buildings on the opposite side of Liberty Avenue. Chief Maroney quickly sent in the second alarm at 12:26 p.m., which was answered by companies in charge of William M. Graves, Acting Chief of Department. The third alarm was sent at 12:28; fourth at 12:38, and fifth at 12:45 p.m.
Firemen had a hard battle saving a large brick bakery and other industrial buildings directly across from the burning buildings, over an eighty-foot thoroughfare. The intense heat cracked windows and blistered paint on the front of the buildings, while flying sparks and burning embers burned a hole in the roof of the baking plant. Several gasoline stations and other buildings in the district were threatened with destruction.
After an hour’s hard work, during which time many of the fire fighters suffered blistered necks and ears from the intense heat, which drove them hack across the street, the fire was checked and brought under control.
Twenty automobiles were removed to a place of safety from the automobile repair shop, while three other cars and a truck were destroyed by the flames.
Attendants at a service station adjoining the bakery poured water on their property with a private line to keep the heat and sparks from igniting lubricants.
Firemen fought the fire from all sides and from the roofs of adjoining buildings, using twelve powerful pumper streams and one hydrant stream. Pressure was furnished by four 1,000-gallon and eight 750-gallon triple combination pumpers, using 500 feet of 3-inch and 9,950 feet of 2 1/2-inch hose, all cotton rubber lined.
After the fire had been brought under control another gust of flames arose from one of the junk yard buildings, where escaping natural gas had ignited from a ruptured pipe.
Firemen and gas company employees toiled for over an hour to locate the gas main, before they could shut off the gas.