Building Entirely Involved when Fire Department Arrives, in Spile of Watchman on Premises—Burnings of the Week

IN spite of the fact that a night watchman was on the premises a fire in the Lyceum Theatre, Baltimore, Md., on the early morning ot April 25, necessitated five alarms, according to Chief August Emerich, and was a roaring furnace when the first alarm companies arrived. Several of the firemen were overcome by smoke before the blaze was finally brought under control, at 8 a. m. after a fight of five hours.

The theatre watchman and his wife were about to eat their luncheon in the kitchen of the Tent Cabaret or the third floor at 3:31 a. m. when the former smelled smoke and on opening a door, a burst of flame and smoke drove the pair out into the street by way of t h e front staircase. The watchman said that he was not on the sidewalk over two minutes when the entire theatre seemed to be involved in the fire. He immediately sent in an alarm, the latter being received at 3:33. Five alarms were turned in, in the space of fifteen minutes, the third and succeeding ones by Chief Emerich, who arrived on the scene with the second alarm. There were 220 men in action at the fire, according to Chief Emerich, with 15 engine companies, four truck companies, one high pressure service hose company and one water tower company. The hydrants were of the 6-inch type, spaced about 300 feet apart and with a pressure of 65 pounds at the hydrant. There were nineteen engine streams thrown, with nozzles of from 1 1/4 to 2 inches, the water main being of 10-inch diameter. Some fifteen thousand feet of cotton, rubber-lined hose were laid and of this amount three lengths burst during the fire. A water tower was also brought into service at the fire.

The fire apparently originated in the basement of the theatre building front a cause unknown. The structure was 90 x 16_____ feet in dimensions, three stories in height, and was constructed of brick, it had been built thirty years. For a time it looked as if some of the neighboring apartments might go, and policemen were sent into these buildings to arouse the occupants. These poured into the streets in scanty attire and added to the excitement. The heavy fire walls of the theatre, however, prevented the flames from spreading to the adjoining structures, and the damage was confined to the building of origin. While the Tent Cabaret was untouched by the flames it was completely wrecked by the large volumes of water used to extinguish the fire in the theatre. The roof of the latter collapsed at 5:30 a. m. and the firemen then drowned out the fire. The loss was estimated at $150,000.

Chief August Emerich, Baltimore, Md.

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