Akron Department Attacks Fire After Others Fail

Akron Department Attacks Fire After Others Fail

Chief John T. Mertz, of the fire department of Akron, O., thus describes the fire which recently destroyed the plant of the International Harvester Company: “The buildings were located in the central part of the city and were 75 x 300 feet, with a 300-foot wing, three stories in height, and were built of brick and wood about 20 years ago. There were several partition walls, but no sprinkler equipment. Some provision for fighting fire had been made on the premises and also for the saving of lives in case of fire. The fire broke out in the paint shop from some unknown cause, about 3 o’clock p. m., and was discovered by one of the factory hands. After 14 hours of hard work on the part of the department the flames were subdued, not having been permitted to get further than 100 feet from their origin. The alarm was received from a private box and was responded to by three Webb motors, one American-La France steamer, one Ahrens and one Button steamer, two ladder trucks and four combination wagons. Upon the arrival of the department the fire was found raging furiously on the first and second floors, making it necessary to call out the remainder of the department. The street in front of the building is 50 feet wide through which a 6-inch and a 12-inch water main run. In the vicinity were eight public and five private hydrants, 4-inch single and double, and with 7,850 feet of cotton, rubber lined hose, eight engine streams and six streams from the private system of the International Company were operated with 1 1/8 and 1 1/4inch nozzles. The water system here is gravity, and the hydrant pressure at the time of the fire was from 20 to 30 pounds. The task was made all the more difficult by the attempt on the part of the employes of the International Company to fight the fire with their facilities. But after finding the job too big a one, they notified the city fire department. When the latter reached the scene, the flames had got a very substantial hold upon the building. Moreover, the large pump at the city pumping station was out of commission for about an hour after the fire started. Notwithstanding all these obstacles, we managed to keep the flame from spreading. The buildings were valued at $150,000, and the contents at $100,000. There was a loss of $50,000 on the former and $100,000 on the latter. The contents consisted largely of automobiles and accessories.”

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