Bad Fire at Jamestown.
A fire that threatened to devastate the entire business section of the city of Jamestown, N. Y, raged there intermittently from Saturday night, March 12, until Monday, the 14th, when it was finally extinguished with a loss estimated at $800,000. Opinions differ as to the origin of the fire, a plausible theory being that an acetylene gas tank in an oxy-acetylene welding plant used by one of the tenants of the Cokey factory building was leaky and that the escaping gas came in contact with an incipient fire, causing an explosion and the incredibly rapid spread of the flames. After a hard fight and the practical destruction of the building in which the fire began it was believed to be extinguished, but broke out again, spread to the adjoining Gokey business building, the most important structure of its kind in the city; thence to the new Sherman House, Jamestown’s handsome hotel; the Erie Hall building, the Briggs block and several other business buildings. There was plenty of water available, and under the direction of Chief Fred H. Wilson the firemen fought like heroes, the salvation of the entire business section of the city from destruction being due to their strenuous work Buffalo was appealed to for aid, and Chief McConnell had loaded two steamers on a car and was about to start with them when it was believed that the fire had exhausted itself, and he was telephoned not to come. Subsequently it broke out afresh, as above stated, and destroyed the Erie Hall building, in which was the Bijou theatre, and the Briggs block. Caught in the ruins of a falling wall of the Gokey building, John Hanson, captain of the city’s fire police, was instantly killed, and several others badly injured, and considering the risks they voluntarily took in the discharge of their duty it is a wonder that more of the firemen were not injured or killed. Under orders from Water Commissioner Anderson all three pumps in the city’s pumping station, one of which usually suffices for the city’s needs, were kept at work, so that there was not only plenty of waiter, but it was under good pressure and its copious and well directed use limited the spread of the flames. As it is. the burned district covers a large section of two squares in the center of the city.