AROUND THE FIRE SERVICE–1940-1949
Excerpts from Fire Engineering
WORLD WAR II: INFLUENCES ON THE FIRE SERVICE
World War II had various everlasting effects on the fire service and the country in general. The industrial landscape vastly expanded to include the manufacture of chemicals and synthetic composites, such as rubber and other substances needed to fight the war. These industries, after the war, adapted the new technologies to domestic uses, including firefighting tactics and fire safety. It was during this era, for example, that the pressurized air cylinder was introduced to the fire service. New cities built around the new industries blossomed. Hazardous chemicals left over from the war posed explosion and fire threats as they awaited conversion to fertilizers and other hazardous materials in the holds of sea vessels, in waterfront warehouses, in containers at industrial facilities, and in railcars throughout the country. On the community-service front, fire departments were a primary component of the domestic defense as they geared up to protect citizens during air raids or extinguish any fires that might occur should an actual bombing take place.
…. “It wasn`t long after this country seriously embarked on its synthetic rubber program that it was discovered that butadiene, the major ingredient of synthetic rubber, presented an extremely dangerous and violent fire hazard …. It is probably safe to say that the fire service in general has been, and for the most part still is, ignorant about butadiene, butylene and the butadiene-butylene mixtures ….”
The conclusion of some 38 tests has demonstrated that “structures and equipment may be protected from fires arising from liquid hydrocarbons by using water in very finely divided form (generally termed water fog) ….” (“New War Product Produces Problem for the Fire Service,” August 1944–Abstract of Report on Fire Control Tests for the Synthetic Rubber Industry conducted by Rubber Reserve Corporation and Rockwood Sprinkler Corporation at Baytown, Texas, Nov. 1943 through Jan. 1944)
Ammonium Nitrate Explosion Held Cause of Texas Disaster
“In all its seventy years of recording the history of the fire service, Fire Engineering has never known such a succession of tragic and costly catastrophes as have occurred in the first quarter of 1947, climaxed by the Texas City holocaust of April 16 …. More than thirty-five disasters, causing approximately 500 deaths, were already recorded for 1947 before the Texas City explosions and fire ….” (Editor`s Foreword, May 1947)
At about 9:12 a.m. on April 16, 1947, the nitrate-laden freighter S. S. Grandcamp blew up on the waterfront of Texas City, Texas, setting off a chain of explosions and fires.
“The exact loss of life will probably never be known, but at this writing the known dead are listed at 433 by Mayor C. Trahan and the missing given as 302 by the State Department of Public Safety.” Among the dead were 27 members of the 47-member Texas City Volunteer Fire Department. “The number of injured ran into the thousands. The property loss is estimated at from $50,000,000 to $125,000,000.
“The tragedy virtually wiped out most of the dockside facilities and industries in the thriving war-boom city of 16,000 people on Galveston Harbor, destroying, in addition, three freighters and their cargoes, over 500 railway cars and 1,500 motor vehicles. More than 1,200 families were made homeless by the explosions, which also did serious damage to business and public buildings.”
Texas City … a major shipping center, is also home to the vast Monsanto Chemical Company plant, six major industrial properties and a number of smaller ones. At the time of the explosion, the Monsanto Chemical plant was undergoing a $1 million expansion program that included “additional facilities to produce polystyrene, a chemical basic in the production of plastics.” The plant was sold to Monsanto by the Government; it was built to make styrene (processed from propane), an important ingredient in synthetic rubber manufacture.
The waterfront had six piers, connected by spurs of the Terminal Railway Company. The freighter S. S. Grandcamp was located on the south side of the “North Slip” (between the Monsanto property and the northernmost pier) at the time of the fire. The S. S. High Flyer and the S. S. Wilson B. Keene were located in the “Main Slip” between Piers A and B, the latter to the south. This slip was about in line with the on-shore string of Terminal warehouses and the huge grain elevator.
On the morning of April 16, the Grandcamp reportedly was loaded with approximately 2,300 tons of ammonium nitrate–shipped by rail from ordnance plants. When the fire was discovered on the Grandcamp that morning, 27 members of the Texas City Volunteer Fire Department responded to the initial alarm of fire shortly after 8 a.m. Aided by members of the crew, dock workers, and some members of local oil refinery fire brigades, “they were getting lines into operation aboard ship, as well as from the dock, when the blast came and the ship disintegrated.” The explosion “set off the chain of explosions which devastated the port. With them into eternity went all the others who were aiding the volunteers ….”
The detonation of the Grandcamp was felt 100 miles away. The explosion, it was said, “caused the Monsanto plant to vibrate violently upon its foundation (it had been built on 60-foot piling), which in turn ruptured fittings carrying pressures from one operating unit to another, resulting in the explosions and fires, causing additional casualties among the reported 450 workers at the plant. Almost half of the Monsanto`s employees at work at the time of the explosion were dead or missing; the balance were injured, many critically …. About two minutes after the initial shock, fires broke out at different locations in the Monsanto installations, spreading with increasing fury, unopposed by firefighters.”
Witnesses testified that crew members of the High Flyer and the Grandcamp had been smoking on board a day before the explosion. Fire was discovered in the cargo of the Grandcamp, in the No. 4 hold, about 8 a.m. … “the fact is clear that from approximately 8:30 a.m. to 9:17 a.m., the time of the explosion, the fire was allowed to increase in intensity below decks, except for the efforts of the Texas City Fire Department, which were so tragically interrupted.”
The captain of the High Flyer testified that his ship was loaded with 961 tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer compound in addition to other cargo. The Keene was said to have contained wheat.
“Earlier testimony before the Board indicated that the markings on the fertilizer chemical being loaded in the Grandcamp and the High Flyer gave no indication that the compound was explosive.” (“Ammonium Nitrate Explosion Held Cause of Texas Disaster,” Roi B. Woolley, May 1947)
CATASTROPHES INVOLVING PLACES OF ASSEMBLY
Hartford Circus Catastrophe
A near-capacity audience of 7,000 was applauding the end of an animal act at a Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey Circus performance in Hartford, Connecticut, on the hot afternoon of July 6, 1944, when “suddenly there was a flash of flame near the main entrance of the show.”
The fire appeared small at first; “one circus employee said it looked as if it could have been extinguished with a pail of water. Then flames abruptly rose toward the top of the 520- 2 220-foot tent. There was no panic at first, according to eye witnesses, but suddenly the flames were flashing overhead; there was a cry of `Fire!` and pandemonium broke loose …. [and] then spread throughout the entire audience.”
Two steel three-foot-high runways served as “barriers to the panic-stricken crowds trying to escape. In their frenzy men tossed children over them, and women attempting to clamber over the obstacles fell into the terrified mob. Seventy bodies, some burned beyond recognition, were later found massed at this point.” Within 25 minutes, the “high big top was reduced to ashes.” The end result was that 167 persons–more than three-fourths of them children–died, and more than 225 were seriously injured–many scarred for life. The exact cause of the fire was undetermined.
“When I pulled up to the scene, the huge canvas tent, fanned by a breeze from the west, was burning like tissue paper and all the water in the world couldn`t stop the progress of that blaze,” reported Hartford Fire Chief John C. King …. “Truck crewmen attempted to rescue the panic-stricken women and children that were caught in the path of the onrushing flames. Several ran toward us with their clothing ablaze and they were writhing in pain ….”
As a result of this fire, “many municipalities have been overhauling their fire prevention codes to include inspection of circus traveling shows and the like, and insistence upon fire proofing of materials, and installation of fire protective measures …. ” This tragedy brought forth many recommendations for increasing fire safety at circuses and similar events. (Thomas F. Magner, Aug. 1944)
Cocoanut Grove Fire
In a case that was the first of its kind to be tried in this country, principals in the Cocoanut Grove Night Club in Boston, Massachusetts, were brought to trial, in the words of the Attorney General, “to show what duties owed the public attending the Cocoanut Grove with or without a fire were not fulfilled.” (The owner of the club, an attorney, was later found guilty of man-slaughter and given a 12- to 15-year sentence. His conviction was upheld in an appeal to the Supreme Court. He was formally disbarred by the state bar association. He developed terminal cancer and was given a pardon by the governor. He died at the age of 50. [Cocoanut Grove, Edward Keyes (New York: Atheneum), 1984.] The fire that had occurred at the night club on Saturday evening, November 28, 1942, took 491 lives.
Among those indicted were the building commissioner, a police captain, a fire lieutenant (who reportedly had declared conditions “good” at the club when he had inspected it eight days before the fire; he was later cleared of the charge), and a building inspector.
Among the charges leveled by the State were the following: that on the night of the fire, exits were locked and boarded up, windows were barred, automatic fire doors called for by plans on which building permits were issued were nonexistent, and the place was overcrowded. “The whole thing constituted a trap in which lives were taken as a result of gross, wanton and willful acts and failures to act on the part of these defendants …. Bodies were piled up at a two and one-half foot wide door which was locked with a panic lock and a tongue lock ….”
A 16-year-old busboy working in the club reportedly had struck a match while attempting to replace a lightbulb in the corner of the Melody Lounge, where the fire was first discovered. “I got up on a stool, lit a match to see the bulb, turned the bulb and light came on,” he testified. “I got off the stool and blew out my match and started to walk back toward the bar. Somebody yelled, `Fire,` and I turned around and the corner was afire. The palm tree was blazing, and the ceiling was ablaze. The fire spread like a wave, running across the ceiling [decorative cloth hung about 18 inches below the concrete ceiling] like a wave.”
Panic caused the high number of casualties. An auxiliary policeman described the crowd as “mad.” Firemen reported finding 25 bodies in the passageway of a door that had been “bricked up.”
(“Ten Indictments Returned in Cocoanut Grove Holocaust,” Alton Blackington, Jan. 1943; “Trial Proves Criminal Negligence at Cocoanut Grove Fire,” Alton H. Blackington, May 1943)
Rhythm Night Club
“Smoke and a stampede that followed claimed 198 lives when fire broke out on April 24, 1940, in the Rhythm Night Club in Natchez, Miss. …. The building was completely covered with corrugated iron, which made an oven of the interior once the fire had started.” The building had been a blacksmith shop at one time. The only exit from the building was through a narrow door at the front. All windows had been boarded.
The fire was said to have started near the front door. It traveled rapidly toward the rear, where most occupants were “driven, blinded by smoke, and herded by flames that traveled with amazing speed ….”
“Most of the victims had been suffocated by the thick black smoke or were crushed in the stampede.” Arson was suspected. (“Negro Night Club Fire Claims 198 Victims,” June 1940)
A significant number of lives were lost in hotel fires during this decade (as well as in past decades). Hazardous construction features related to renovations or the age of the structures, poor judgment with regard to flammables in decorations or housekeeping practices, the common practice of delaying notification of the fire departments, and the absence of codes or their enforcement figured prominently in these tragedies–hence, the editor`s sense of urgency in bringing up and repeating over and over in editor`s notes and editorials the lessons that must be learned and applied before it could be expected that this horrific trend could be reversed.
LaSalle Hotel, Chicago
“Fire, flashing with as yet unexplained swiftness through the lobby and lower floors of this 37-year-old `fireproof` [hotel] resulted in the death of 61 persons [one a battalion chief who was fatally injured when part of the mezzanine floor collapsed] and injuries to more than 200–many of them firemen …. Perhaps never in the annals of the Chicago Fire Department were its officers and men faced with such an appalling situation as met them when they rolled into the burning LaSalle soon after 12:35 a.m. on the morning of June 5, 1946.”
The fire was believed to have been burning in concealed spaces in a combustible wall and hanging ceilings of the Silver Lounge and the Tonti Coffee Shop on the lobby floor. It “suddenly burst its bounds and, feeding on flammable furnishings and lacquer covered paneling, roared up open stairways to the mezzanine, and thence to the third, fourth and fifth floors, cutting off egress to elevators and stairways for the 1,100 guests above. Within minutes, the entire lobby and first three floors were engulfed in flames, and both of the main street entrances were impassable.”
When firemen arrived, guests were trapped in their rooms and screaming. Some victims jumped before the rescuers arrived; others fell while trying to scale the structure`s surface. Life nets were used to save an undetermined number of guests.
“Although the actual fire did not get above the fifth floor, the elevator shafts were scorched as high as the 19th floor. Hot smoke and gases driven up by the heat below, and drawn by the draft created by open guest-room doors and transoms, caught many victims in halls where, confused by the dark and panicked by fear, they were overcome and died ….”
The fire was under control by 3:30 a.m., but it took many more hours to search all rooms, halls, and stairways and remove victims. Medical reports indicated that most of the victims died from suffocation induced by carbon monoxide poisoning. One of the fatalities was a battalion chief, 55, who was fatally injured by the collapse of a part of the mezzanine floor.
Erected in 1908 and 1909, the 22-story hotel was of “fireproof construction. It was built of steel, concrete, Bedford Stone, granite, brick terra cotta, marble, and tile. A basement and subbasement extended for some distance below street level.”
Stairways extended the full height of the building leading from the mezzanine, reached by open marble stairways on both sides of the lobby behind the enclosed elevators. A wrought iron railing was around the mezzanine.
The old open-type stairways used in the hotel were not permitted under the applicable building code, but the code was not retroactive. No construction changes were required of the hotel when the code was adopted.
The hotel was equipped with regulation standpipes, prescribed by city ordinance for all public buildings more than 80 feet high. Small hose and open nozzles, attached to valved outlets, were on each floor. Regulation fire extinguishers were on the lobby floor, but evidence indicates there was some doubt over their location–or the knowledge of their location. Testimony indicated that not a single hotel fire extinguisher was used by employees, “although `amateur firemen` attacked the blaze in the lounge with improvised `extinguishers.` ” There was no sprinkler system.
There were some indications that the staff tried to extinguish the fires instead of immediately calling the fire department. Records show that the fire was discovered at 12:15 to 12:20 a.m. and was reported at 12:35 a.m.
The Fire Commissioner`s report attributed the fire to “crossed wires in the air space, measuring from 12 to 18 inches in depth, in the ceiling of the Silver Lounge”–the space created when the lounge was remodeled and the paneling installed in 1936. According to reports, “the fire extended down into the walls from the ceiling. Sparks, seen in an elevator shaft adjoining the fourth wall of the lounge, may have been communicated to it through wall openings. Eventually … the flames heated the walls of a corner booth in the cocktail lounge and sparks and smoke shot out when a cushion was lifted.”
The hotel had been notified on May 10 that there were 10 violations of the fire prevention code. Six of the violations were corrected by May 24. The Fire Prevention Bureau reported that the hotel was working on installing sprinkler heads and self-closing doors. The hotel still had to correct the hazards of “excessive combustible draperies in the Grand Ballroom and Century Room” and “failure to treat the draperies with flame-retarding solution.” (Roi B. Woolley, July 1946)
Hotel Winecoff, Atlanta, Georgia
“When two fires within four days of each other last June brought death to over 80 persons and injuries to 200 others, in the LaSalle and Canfield [Dubuque, Iowa; 19 persons were killed and 23 injured] hotel holocausts, students of fire protection and prevention were inclined to believe that the shocked nation had learned its fire safety lesson and that from this peak of destruction in this classification there would be a decline as remedial and corrective measures were taken to make further such tragedies impossible …. On every side government, state and municipal officials are joining with the man-in-the-street in asking “why must these things happen?” And not a few of them are directing their inquiries to the fire service which more than any other entity is closest to these catastrophes ….” (Fred Shepperd, July 1946)
During the early hours of December 7, 1947, fire raged through the 15-story, 33-year-old (advertised “fireproof”) hotel, resulting in the deaths of 119 persons and injuries to approximately 100 others, many of them firemen.
The 15-story hotel, built in 1913, was classified as “fireproof.” Its construction included “protected steel beams and girders.” Dividing walls between rooms were of hollow tile, plastered on both sides. Exterior walls were 12-inch-brick panel type. It had a full basement and a small subbasement. One hundred ninety-four guests were reported to be in their rooms. Many were permanent residents; some were elderly.
The stairway–steel with composition tile wearing surface–was not enclosed. It was located between the elevator shafts and rose to a landing halfway up to the third floor; it then “branched out with two wings, rising the remaining distance ….” Only a small portion of the mezzanine floor was air-conditioned. There were no outside or inside enclosed fire escapes and no service elevators or dumbwaiters. The hotel had no organized firefighting staff, didn`t appear to conduct fire drills regularly or train the staff in fire safety. The elevators in the single open stairway provided the only means of egress from the third floor and all the floors above. According to the National Board of Fire Underwriters, two separate stairways, each fully enclosed, would be required for this building by the Board`s Recommended Building Code. Twelve months before the fire, the hotel had undergone extensive interior redecorating.
The fire was said to have started in the third-floor hallway in the southwest portion of the building. The specific cause of the fire was unknown at the time the report was made, but investigators believed it may have been started in a mattress that was found in the hallway. It had been stored in a closet on that floor. A state chemist`s report showed that inner spring of the mattress contained a flammable oil.
“All available information supports the fact that the fire had gained considerable headway before discovery and that hallways from the third to the fifth floors were involved upon the arrival of the fire department ….” (“Atlanta`s Hotel Winecoff Fire Worst In Nation`s History,” Roi B. Woolley, Jan. 1947)
Five out of eight buildings of the Firestone Rubber and Latex plant in Fall River, Massachusetts, were destroyed in a two-state-alarm fire on October 11, 1941. The plant made “items vital to the nation`s defense.” Ten firefighters were injured when a wall collapsed. (Nov. 1941)
The Monsanto chemical plant that was destroyed in the Texas City explosion.
Flames consume the big top of Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey Circus as poles and tackle fall on the fleeing audience.
Flame “passed,” but smoke and carbon monoxide dealt death to two luckless card players, trapped in a third- floor card room of the LaSalle Hotel shortly after midnight, June 4. One victim had just phoned his wife he “would be home right after his hand.”
A Message to the American Fire Service from James M. Landis, Director, Office of Civilian Defense
(Written at the invitation of Fire Engineering. “We urge its careful study, for it comes from a man in our national government with whom we must work in fullest cooperation. Mr. Landis has already shown a thorough understanding of the work of the American Fire Service and wholehearted cooperation is in order.”–Fred Shepperd)
“The American Fire Service has undertaken the task of preparing for the hazards of air borne incendiary attacks with a spirit and willingness which are an inspiration to the other civilian protection services. Confronted with the Herculean task of gearing departmental operation to war time tempo and of enrolling and training a large number of auxiliary firemen, most fire departments, from the small volunteer companies in rural areas to the full time departments in our large cities, have met this new challenge by calling on that reservoir of resourcefulness built up through years of peacetime fire fighting operations ….
“A new problem has arisen to challenge the ingenuity of the American Fire Service …. our original plans contemplated the purchase of self propelled pumpers and trailer units to be supplied to localities in need of but unable to provide such equipment …. Tremendous demands on the manufacturing capacity and materials of our nation … have necessitated radical changes in our planning.
“The municipalities which will participate in the distribution of auxiliary fire apparatus must now arrange to provide the necessary trucks from vehicles presently in municipal service and from such additional second hand trucks as can be secured through donation or repurchase …. The Office of Civilian Defense will furnish the pumping unit and a full complement of hose, ladders, nozzles and other essential equipment ….” (Mar. 1942)
S. S. Normandie
Destroyed By Fire
Fire swept through the big French liner S. S. Normandie (recently renamed U. S. S. Lafayette upon its acquisition by the United States) on February 9. A few hours after the fire was extinguished by the New York Fire Department, the ship capsized. “The fire started at 2:30 p.m. in the main lounge on the promenade deck, where a spark from an acetylene torch struck a life preserver filled with kapok. The fire spread rapidly. Within a few minutes, there were no lights or power.”
Fireboats began arriving a 3:15 p.m. “They began their streams even before they had positioned along the vessel`s side and stern …. The wind caught the plumes of water and bent them shoreward.” Five alarms were sounded. The fire was brought under control shortly after 7 p.m. The ship was listing badly at that time but nearly righted itself around midnight. When the tide turned around 3 a.m., the ship again began to list and capsized. “Despite the large number of persons aboard (2,200) the ship at the time the fire occurred, only one life was lost; over 100 persons were injured.” (Mar. 1942)
Bomber Hits Empire State Building; New York Gets Its Highest Fire
At 9:45 a.m., Saturday, July 28, 1945, an eight-ton, twin-engine Army B-25 Mitchell bomber–said to be traveling faster than 300 miles per hour–struck the north side of the 102-story, 1,250-foot Empire State Building at a point 915 feet above street level. It was foggy at the time. Fourteen people died, three of them occupants of the plane. Twenty-six were injured, four critically. The majority of the victims were from the War Relief Services of the National Catholic Welfare Conference, which had its office on the 79th floor. “It is believed that only five of those on the floor escaped death or serious injury ….” Reportedly, there were between 1,000 and 1,500 persons in the structure at the time of the accident.
The plane smashed through seven walls and partitions. One of the motors landed atop a 12-story building across 33rd Street. Other plane parts and pieces of the structure were thrown in all directions. The plane`s motors and fuselage ripped an 18-foot-wide by 23-foot-high opening in the outer wall of the 78th and 79th floors, on the 34th Street side of the structure ….
“Cascading torrents of flaming gasoline poured through the seventy-eight and seventy-ninth floors, setting fire to everything that was combustible. Burning fuel ran down stair wells into hallways as far as the seventy-fifth floor, as well as down the face of the building. Choking fumes and smoke rose upward to the conservatory, 1,050 feet above the street. Roofs of adjacent buildings sprouted fire and smoke.”
It took 40 minutes and four alarm assignments before the New York City Fire Department extinguished the fires resulting from the crash. The collision did not seriously damage the building`s fire protection system. There was no delay in getting water on the fire. “Following the disaster a three-man investigation board was set up to study the cause and results. Mayor LaGuardia unhesitatingly place the blame upon the pilot …. The Army is said to have accepted full responsibility for the disaster ….” (Aug. 1945)
Scott Air-Pak Now Available
The Scott Aviation Corporation, of Lancaster, New York, has introduced “a revolutionary type of breathing apparatus with a wide variety of not only fire fighting but emergency and work applications as well. Called the Scott Air-Pak, it had its inception in the battle skies …. Over two years ago, Scott investigated the field which existed in fire fighting and general industrial use for a type of breathing apparatus utilizing air, which could be stored under pressure in a compressed air cylinder, with the result that air is carried by the Scott Air-Pak to the hazard and not drawn and refined at the scene.” The Scott Air-Pak is ready for instant use. It uses the Wilson mask. “The demand-type regulator is for all intents and purposes the same as that employed by the Army and tested through hundreds of thousands of hours under extreme service conditions.” It is available in backpack and sling-type models. (Oct. 1945)
Holland Tunnel Disaster
In Jersey City, New Jersey, at 9 a.m. on Friday, May 13, 1949, a fire and explosion in the Holland Tunnel (twin tubes under the Hudson River that connect New York and New Jersey that opened in 1927) “threatened wholesale death.” Nearly 70 persons were injured; most were treated at the scene and released. Property damage was estimated at “more than half a million dollars.”
“The driver of a 16-ton trailer truck loaded in contravention of regulations, with 4,400 gallons of highly flammable and volatile carbon disulphide, heard a noise and discovered fire in the rear of his cargo. He leaped from the truck cab and sprinted for the New York portal of the tube. The fire … was followed quickly by blasts of many of the eighty 50-gallon drums of the chemical.” The resulting “chain reaction of fires and explosions ripped off large sections of the underwater vehicular artery`s steel and concrete roof and reduced a dozen or more big trucks to a mangled and heat-fueled mass of wreckage. Twenty-three trucks in all were counted damaged or destroyed.”
“Drivers of trucks and cars leaped from their vehicles and struggled through suffocating smoke; others were blown out of the seats of their vehicles. Divers linked hands to make their way through the tunnel in the darkness to the Jersey side.”
The enclosed communications cables in the area of the tube within the vicinity of the incident melted at temperatures that reportedly reached 4,0007F. The tube`s steel casing was not damaged and the ventilation system continued to function.
A tunnel patrolman turned in an alarm to the New York Port Authority office at Holland Tunnel Plaza. The Authority`s emergency tractor, a jeep, and firefighting apparatus responded at the New York end at 9:20 a.m.
When New York City Fire Department`s Rescue 1 arrived, it “encountered pandemonium inside the tube entrance.” A full first alarm was transmitted. The ultimate response included rescue units, public and police emergency units, ambulances, and doctors. The smoke and gases made it necessary to relieve the first-alarm responders. The oxygen unit was special-called.
Two and one-half- and 112-inch lines connected with the tunnel`s water supply system were used to cool down the trucks and cars and tunnel interior, as well as to dilute the heavily toxic atmosphere.
The driver of the truck in which the trouble started said he did not know that he had a hazardous cargo in his closed 31-foot truck trailer and that he had not been given a bill of lading by his employer, the Boyce Motor Line of Jersey City. He was delivering the cargo to Pier 2 in Brooklyn, for export on the Farrell Steamship Line. He was not stopped for a bill of lading or any other information about his cargo at the Jersey end of the tunnel. (June 1949)