BLAZE STARTS IN TRUCK SHOPS OF BOSTON ELEVATED RAILWAY
Rain Aided in Preventing Spread of Flames —Fire Forces Directed by Chief Daniel F. Sennott—Cellar Pipes Do Good Work
FLAMES that apparently started in the forge shop of the Boston Elevated Railway, from an oil fed forge, had obtained great headway before discovered, and developed into a three-alarm fire. Employees at the shop manned a hose line from a hydrant in the yard and attempted to fight the blaze.
The first alarm was received at 9:47 p. m., the second filed five minutes later and third sent at 10:11.
The apparatus called to the scene consisted of fifteen engines and ntteen hose wagons, five hook and ladder trucks. two water towers, one rescue company, two lighting units, emergency wrecker, and wagons of the Boston Protective Department, also fuel wagon and emergency trucks of the Boston Consolidated Gas Company and Elevated Railway. There were approximately 175 officers and men on duty.
Lieutenant Eugene J. Doherty, detailed to Engine 3, the first company to reach the scene, immediately ordered a second alarm, for which prompt action he was later commended in general orders.
The building involved has been visited by several large fires in past years. At one, about twenty years ago. Captain Patrick Lanigan, of Ladder 13, was killed by a falling wall. The structure is seventy feet wide and 300 feet long, and was originally three stories high. At present the rear section for a distance of 260 feet is only one story in height. The upper floors were gutted in a previous fire and when repairs were made the roof was put on over the first story.
The front of the building is used for offices and work rooms and the rear for a truck shop and forge shop. The forges are oil burning, the oil flowing by gravity from a tank slung under the roof. The main oil tank is buried in the yard.
When the first city apparatus reached the scene the sky was illumined by the flames. The fact that the alarm was sounded from the private box located at Harrison Avenue on the other side of the yard from the blaze caused delay in getting into action as long lines of hose had to be laid through the yard while other companies were sent around to attack the fire from the Albany Street side.
The first alarm brought out Deputy Chief Quigley, District Chief Minnehan, Engine Companies 3, 26, 22, and 15, and Ladder Companies 3 and 13. The second alarm summoned Assistant Chief Fox, Acting District Chief Ward, District Chief McCorkle, Engine Companies 35, 23, 43, 10, and 13 and Ladder Companies 17 and 20. The third alarm called out Chief Daniel F. Sennott, Engine Companies 39, 6, 24, 32, 2, and 37 and Ladder Company 30. There were also two water towers, a rescue company, and police and hospital ambulances at the scene. Several firemen suffered minor injuries.
Approximately 11,500 feet of 2 1/2-inch and three-inch cotton rubber jacketed hose was used. The nozzles were 1 1/4-inch and 1 1/2-inch. There were eighteen hose lines in operation, and the total discharge was about 7,500 gallons per minute.
The ladders used were one 85-foot aerial to the roof of the 3-story section of the building, three 30-foot ladders, and eight 25-foot ladders.
The water pressure at the hydrants ranged from thirtyfive to fifty-five pounds. There were eight hydrants supplied by a 12-inch main in Harrison Avenue and a 12-inch main in Albany Street. One line was run from a yard hydrant supplied by a 6-inch private main.
There were no fire walls or fire doors separating the one-story shed from the three-story section of the building and the fire had communicated to the latter when checked by hose lines run in through the front door of the larger structure. There were no sprinklers or thermostats in either building. Both were of brick construction.
Shortly after the arrival of the department the oil tank under the roof of the one story shed where the blaze originated was ruptured and spread the fire which burned fiercely in all directions. There was a low cock loft between the ceiling of the shed and roof, pitched to throw off the rain. The loft, about four feet high and extending under the ridge pole the entire length of the shed, afforded the fire an opportunity to spread laterally. The flames were stopped after they had eaten into the partitions of the higher building.
In order to reach the hidden flames beneath the roof it was necessary to use Carey and Bresnan cellar pipes which were operated through holes cut in the roof.
There was a large 4-story brick storage building situated directly opposite the burning structure and separated from it by a 25-foot alley. This was undamaged.
Efficient work by the Boston firemen amid dense smoke saved the three-story section and confined practically all the loss to the one-story shed. Danger from flying embers was minimized by a heavy rain.
Chief Daniel F. Sennott directed department operations. He was aided by Assistant Chief Henry A. Fox, Deputy Chief Quigley, and three district chiefs. Eugene C. Hultman, Building Commissioner and Acting Fire Commissioner, went to the fire on the third alarm. He was Fire Commissioner under Mayor Nichols and is still acting in that capacity until his successor appointed by Mayor Curley has been approved by the civil service commission.