A GLUCOSE FIRE.
Some weeks ago the plant of the New York Glucose company at Shady Side, N. J., was severely damaged by fire, the result of an explosion. Comments having been made on the way in which the fire was handled, the Underwriters’ Bureau of the Middle and Southern States sent inspectors to investigate and their report, on the whole, made rather a favorable showing. The fire (it says) was under control at all times, and was supposed tp be out at 12 p. m. At 3 o’clock a. m., the next day, however, it broke out again and was not thoroughly extinguished till 6 a. m. The feed in the bins was hard to reach and kept burning below the top layer, which shed the water, or prevented its penetrating to any depth. To get at this fire, it was necessary to draw the feed out the bottom of the bins on the second floor, where there was a large number of filled bags, and the ears were burned off a number of these sacks; but there was very little other evidence of the fire on this floor. The explosion blew out the entire north wall, one-half of the west wall, four-fifths of the south and one-fourth of the east wall, allowing the roof to settle back on the floor and the presses; this broke nearly all the sprinkler piping on this floor and six-inch riser at the top, and the water from this helped to flood the floor and bins immediately. The east and west walls falling on buildings 3 and 5 caved in one-fifth of these roofs, breaking the small branch feedlines of the sprinkler systems there. The flanges of the r6-in. and X2-in. steam lines which extended the length of the bin-feed roof, eight feet off the floor, were cracked at a number of joints, allowing the screwed pipe to fall out. There apparently was no scarcity of w’ater, and the pressure remained sufficient at all times to reach the top floor of building No. 4 with twenty-five streams going, and the broken 6-in. sprinkler risers in No. 4 discharging water all day; this 6-in. P. I. G. valve was closed at 6 p. m. There were over 3,300,000 gallons of water passed through the 8-in. meters on the high-service There were six fireboats or tugboats throwing streams on the building. There was 3,500 feet of hose in use at the fire and only four lengths burst. A number of sprinklers on the top floor were not fused; this probably was caused by the stratum of cool air which was compressed under the roof, preventing the hot flash reaching the sprinklers; then the sprinklers on the broken lines were probably cooled by the water escaping from broken lines. The broken sprinkler lines in buildings No! 3 and No. 5 were capped, and water was turned on these buildings. The men were working on the system in No. 4 and this P. I. G. valve was closed; but it was expected that it could be opened in a day or two. There is little danger of this building though (continues the report), as everything is thoroughly saturated. The water supplies are all in order. The extent of the damage was between S6o,ooo and $75,000. All the stock in building No. a. which amounted to $10,000 or $12,000 was practically destroyed. The presses and rotary driers appear in good condition. All of the roof was destroyed, and the large tile vent for the rotary driers was badlv damaged and will have to be rebuilt; the feed-bins were partially burned, with a part of the third floor. The brick walls on the too floor w’ere totally gone, but appeared to be in good condition below. Three motors on the top floor and a cracker or opener were badly damaged, and the elevator-beads were burned through from the outside. T11 the case of buildings Nos. 3 and 5, the roofs were partially caved in. The report suggests that an additional supply, the 8-in. yard-main be continued to the dock and three 4-in. outlets or fircboat connections be provided; this 8-in. line to have a P. I. G. valve in and a straightway check-valvf, the check to be back of the gate-valve: in addition. there should be an improved relief-valve, set at 150 pounds, to protect the sprinkler equipment. There should also be provided a concrete fireoroof pump bouse, to be located on the north side of the boiler house, and a standard 1.500gal. underwriter fire pump should be installed, with the steam line from the boilers under ground. The report draw’s the following conclusions: That the explosion was a dust explosion, started presumably by a spark from some foreign substance in the screw-conveyor. There is also the possibility of the explosion having been from a fire of spontaneous origin. The room is more or less filled with dust from this feed falling ten feet to the floor, which is cleaned dowm thoroughly every Sunday. There is slight chance of a fire starting from the mills, or being carried up the bucket-elevators, as these are burned from the outside. There is, also, little chance of the fire starting inside the inclosure, or venthouse, as this carries off the steam and little dust from the driers; the feed is fed to these, containing fifty to sixty per cent, moisture, and is carried out at the farther end from the vent. There is, likewise, little chance of a spark from the motor-starting boxes, as these are separated from the bin room by frame partitions. The cause may have been a spark from the electric lights in the room, but it was a bright day and the lights may not have been lit. There was very little w’ind that day, so the ventilation was poor. The fire V’as very’ w’ell handled. The water supplies are adequate for practically any fire. The sprinklers had no chance to control the fire, but the escaping w’ater from the broken lines helped to hold the fire before the hose streams were brought into play, The steam pipes bursting had nothing to do w’ith the wrecking of the floor.