A ROUGH TIME FOR FIREMEN.
During the past ten days, and particularly the last week, the firemen of Manhattan have been simply run to death by a succession of fires varying from wellnigh conflagrations, one of which, that in the Bowery, kept them at work thirty-six hours on a stretch: They had time neither to eat nor sleep; sometimes they did not even change their wet clothes, on which the ice literally crackled, but threw themselves down worn out on their cots only to he routed up again by the alarm.
So used up have they been that Acting Chief Purroy turned in a fourth alarm for a fire in East Grand street, which at the very outside was only a third-alarm affair, because the men were too wearied to handle it unless with increased numbers. Such conditions have never before arisen in the history of the department. Engine company No. 20, at 47 Marion street, between Prince and Spring streets, for three days, including last Sunday, had a most harassing experience. The company responded to the first alarm for the Cooper square fire, and until 11 o’clock that Sunday morning they were stationed in the Bowery, fighting the Excelsior building fire from the front. Then they were ordered into the rear, and from that position continued to work until 4.30 o’clock on Monday afternoon, being fed in the meantime by charitable folk, who distributed sandwiches and coffee. They returned to their station at 4:30 o’clock, and at once set about to restock the hose, for all that belonged to the company had been left at the fire for use there. They had been in the station less than tweny-five minutes, when they were called on a fourth alarm to rhe fire at 392 to 396 Madison street. They worked there until it :30 o’clock, when they were ordered by the chief to the fire in Mott street, between Spring and Broome. It was 2:30 o’clock before they could leave there, but they hardly had reached the station when they received the alarm from Elizabeth and Grand streets, and were there on one of the fiercest fires of the series until 8 o’clock on Tuesday morning. When the men got back, instead of taking time to eat. they tumbled at once into bed. completely exhausted for lack of sleep. They had been in only a few hours, however, when another call came, at 1 .22 o’clock, for a fire in Broadway, near Houston. It was a small blaze, hut enough to rout all of the tired firemen out of their beds. In the afternoon several men came down to the station from up in Harlem, and a few of the regular men were permitted to go to their homes for rest. Almost the same conditions prevailed with many companies in that quarter during that time.