BAD LUCK AT A GLOUCESTER FIRE.
The fire department of Gloucester, Mass., recently met with a series of unlucky accidents, which prevented them from the earlier control of the most serious fire which had occurred there for years. As nearly all the buildings there are wooden, the firemen, who number nearly 200, of whom not one-tenth are paid full time, have to be particularly prompt in answering the alarm. On this occasion the first alarm was sounded for box 53; but the indicators in every engine house showed box 63, which is installed at the Merchant Box and Cooperage factory at Cleveland and Willow streets. The apparatus was hurried to that point, and. on the error being discovered, the firemen made all speed back to Commercial street, where the flames had obtained a big start in the extensive three-story wooden building on the west side of the street occupied by Cunningham & Thompson, which in the end was practically destroyed, while the smokehouse of the Gloucester Mackerel company, on the north, was seriously damaged, as were, also, much valuable machinery and an immense stock of fish in the building and the flakes or platforms on each side —making the property loss nearly $40,000. The Cunningham & Thompson building was about 250 ft. long by 50 ft. wide with drying flakes on the roof and extending from the street line to the Pavilion Beach line. Separated from it by a narrow passage were the smokehpuses of the Gloucester Mackerel company, while at the Commercial street end was the two and one-half story building of Oakes & Foster—all of them frame. The firemen’s hard luck at the start had not deserted them, for, notwithstanding the fact that the water mains in this section are at the lowest level in the city, the pressure was so feeble that it was impossible to get a stream above the elevation of the second window, while some of the streams fizzled at the end of the nozzles. The lighter, Abbott Coffin, was stationed at the wharf of the Gloucester Mackerel company, and a line of hose carried through her that water might be played on the building on the opposite side. There was more bad luck at this point. When the water was turned on, a whole section of the hose burst almost entirely through the middle. This caused an additional delay, and by the time that the broken section of hose had been replaced, the fire was beginning to burn itself out. Defective electric wiring is supposed to have caused the blaze.