Assistance Rushed to Central Falls, R. I., from Pawtucket and Cumberland —Two Buildings Destroyed and Many Driven from Homes

Chief Hobert Browning, Central Falls, R. I.

ONLY the absence of a heavy wind, and the quick work of the firemen of Central Falls, R. I., under the leadership of Chief Robert Browning, and the assistance of the firemen from Pawtucket and Cumberland, prevented a conflagration in the East Side business section of the former city.

The fire started in a rag pile attached to a junk shop. The yard was surrounded by dwellings and was in the midst of a mercantile district, so that the fire hazard and the danger of the extension of the fire to the adjoining buildings was very great. After two fire alarms had been turned in. Chief Browning realized that he would not have enough facilities and men to cope with the fire and he immediately sent a request for aid to Pawtucket and Cumberland, R. I. The lives ot many of the call and volunteer firemen were threatened by falling bricks and the dangerp of buckling walls. Several of the men had narrow escapes from injury. When it was seen that one of the nearby walls was buckling, two of the firemen manned a 65-foot ladder and moved it to safety with very little time to spare. Billowing smoke from the pile of oil soaked rags covered the entire section. Often the firemen fighting the flames from nearby roofs were completely obliterated. Thirteen lines of hose were laid to the fire.

Several lunch rooms and restaurants in the section supplied the firemen with hot coffee, doughnuts and sandwiches in the early morning hours. Even after the fire was believed to be out. the men continued to pour water on the piles of rags to make sure that there was no fire in the center of the heaps.

Ruins of the Junk Shop Fire in the East Side Business District of Central Falls, R. I.

Several acts of petty thievery were reported. When the call men and volunteers responded, they parked their cars as near the scene as possible, threw off their coats and reported to the officers for duty. When they returned, the cars were stripped of all the accessories possible and many of the coat pockets were searched for valuables.

Chief Browning had a double celebration at the fire. Thirtythree years ago he responded to his first fire as a call man of the department. On the anniversary oi that date, he was again called to a fire but this time as chief of the department, and the peculiar part of the incident was that he was called to the same building. The firemen were served with cool drinks at the expense of Chief Browning, as they played the hose on the burning embers.

The loss is reported at about 550,000 and -ix persons were reported injured as the result of the fire.

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