BIG BLAZE IN SOUTH ORANGE.
Correspondence of FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING.
An early morning fire at South Orange, N. J., wiped out the hat factory of Frederick Cummings, one of the largest plants for turning out felt hats in that part of the country. The loss was nearly $300,000. The circumstances point to incendiarism, as it was the second fire in the establishment within a very few hours. The last fire makes the third that has taken place there since October 20 of last year. It caused $30,000 damage, and its origin was never satisfactorily explained. The first fire of the other day started in the stock building, a small structure at the rear of the main factory. Tt has steel shutters and is reached by an inclosed bridge running into the second story. The flames w-ere fierce inside, and for a long time the steel shutters defied all -efforts to pry them open. It took the firemen .an hour to overcome the fire, which smouldered .among the felt and fur, and caused a loss of between $6,000 and $7,000. When it was got under, the firemen found a brisk blaze in the “devils box” which contains the accumulations of waste. Between that and the stockroom there was no connection. The second fire was discovered by the watchman. The flames were then bursting through the ceiling of the packing room behind him. as he stood in the alleyway between the main structure and the six-story building, in the basement of which was the engineroom. lie first turned in an alarm and then unreeled the factory’s hose to fight the fire, which, however, was beyond his control. Before engine company No. 1, had stretched two lines of hose the flames broke through the roof and ten minutes later there was a heavy explosion in the trimmitig department, accompanied by a burst of ilamc which ran through the whole of the 6story brick building. Chief llodgkinson called out all his force; but it was soon seen that all he could do was to check the southward course of the flames. The one engine of the department was throwing two streams. There was water enough; but it did not reach above the second story. Two of the hydrant streams were fairly efficient; but the others were next to useless and served to emphasise the repeated pleas of Chief llodgkinson for additional steamers. Soon the iron shutters of the Connett factory began to buckle and get very hot. They could not be reached by the streams, and suddenly a wind rose which blew the flames over the Connett premises. Chief Hodgkinson raised an extension ladder and sent men and hose up to throw one of his two engine streams on it West Orange was asked for help and Chief Sheehan came with hose company No. 1, to protect the factory of Trimble, Cless and Company on Freeman street. The West Orange firemen stretched more than 1,000 ft. of hose from a hydrant in West Orange and did excellent work until nearly 5 o’clock, when they went home. The firemen on Jefferson street kept up the fight with their poor streams as close to the building as possible. The Connett factory is equipped with a complete firefighting outfit, consisting of powerful steam pumps connected with artesian wells, making the factory absolutely independent of the city water supply There are hose taps all over the buddings.’and as soon as the fire grew threatening Thomas Jeffries and Robert Lansberg. who are employed at the factory, set the pumps in operation, and in a few’ minutes had several streams going at the threatened spots, It was Largely due to this that the Coitnett lactory wt saved. By o’clock the tirc had begun t~ he under conml and the flames etc being sl~ w lv but su tel~ driven in through the windows of the wooden building. lit the packing room, a vcve r, t e raged anioiig the cases. but by dawn the were extiiigtiishetl. 1)uring the height the lire. two streams v etc kept eoncentrate(l in the (tInt which was on the lust floor. l’here was kept the Ic contaiiuiui the pay roll due on Satuitulay. [[he 1liee wa not hti med. lhe 1 iii miuci I huuithI1g were erected in iR~i, IlIuwl,,g a tire o Inch destroyed the taett,rv as theit condlicted. he hat facitry of Sparrow. eluino Cii.. adjoining the coal and wood all of A. l. Iatthews, and a number ot ltvIlnug~ and smaller hu 11(1 ngs. [he building, which wa principally of brick, had a general frontage of about 225 feet. The highest part of it was four stories, and the rest of the building facing on South Jefferson street was three stories high. The cut of the fire, reproducted from the Newark Evening News, gives a good idea of the appearance of the building after the fire.
The New York World is the authority for the statement that while the recent fire at 353 Broadway, Manhattan, New York, w-as raging, Chief Croker publiclv and loudly censured the police because, when they saw several firemen brought out from the burning building overcome bysmoke and heat, they summoned ambulances and attended to the men without first asking and obtaining his leave.