A Big Blaze at Williamsport.
A fire was burning briskly last week in the rear of Leonie’s shoe store, in the centre of the business section of Williamsport, Pa., when the firemen, summoned by telephone at 12:15 a. m., arrived on the scene. Chief Trank F. Stryder, in it had been burning for some time prior to its discovery by a passerby and the part of the premises where it originated was so completely destroyed that it was impossible even to surmise its cause. The building, of brick, with a small frame addition and without sprinklers, three stories high, was built fifty years ago. It was so old that it proved good fuel for the flames. In addition to the shoe store, the structure housed the Star clothing house, and another shoe store, the upper stories being occupied partly as offices, partly as apartments, the occupants of the latter having for the most part retired. The firemen were quickly on the scene and were successful in getting the people out of the building without injury. The tire spread rapidly, but notwithstanding its inflammable nature it was almost confined to the building in which it originated, with the exception of an adjoining grocery store, that was practically under the same roof, the fire was not allowed to extend. For three hours Chief Frank G. Stryker and his men worked hard and a contingent of South Williamsport volunteers rendered effective assistance. Four engines, two chemical engines and three hose wagons were engaged in the fight, eight 4inch double hydrants, set from 200 to 300 feet apart, furnished plenty of water. The pressure was 45 pounds at the hydrants. The street in front of the buildi n g was 150 feet wide, which afforded ample space to work in: 4,250 feet of hose had to be laid, of which one 50 – foot section burst. There were 11 engines and 4 hydrant streams thrown on the fire through 1 1/4 and 1 1/2-inch shut-off nozzles. The loss on buildings is given by Chief Stryker, as $20,000: on contents, clothing, shoes, groceries furniture, $60,000. The fire left an ugly gap in Williamsport’s business section, which, but for the well-directed efforts of the firemen, would have attained much greater proportions.