BLOCK LOST IN BIG FIRE; WEATHER AT 28 BELOW ZERO
Firemen of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., Can.. Fight Blaze in Severe Cold—Burnings of the Week
WITH the thermometer registering 28 degrees below zero, the fire department of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., Canada, was called out at 3 o’clock in the morning recently to combat a fire that completely gutted one business and residential block before it was brought under control. No advice is at hand as to the origin of the flames which caused a loss of approximately $40,000, and drove many half clad families into the icy streets. Captain Robert D. Clark, of No. 2 Fire Hall, slipped from the roof of a one-story building to the ground, breaking a leg and an arm. Three firemen narrowly escaped instant death when a brick wall crashed to the ground where they were holding a hose. One of the same firemen had a second narrow escape from death by falling through a hole in the icy stairs, being saved by two of his comrades.
It was 3:07 when the alarm rang in the engine quarters, and was responded to by twenty-five men. Nearly four thousand feet of hose was laid, and soon eight powerful streams were directed on the flames, which were rapidly gaining headway, licking up the woodwork and creeping from the building of origin to other adjoining structures. The building where the flames started was lined with tin, and made it difficult for the firemen to reach the fire. “It was the dirtiest and most stubborn fire that we have ever had,” remarked one of the firemen.
Chief W. J. Phillips of the local fire department, stuck stubbornly to his duty, although encased in a shell of ice that made it almost impossible for him to use his limbs. It was not until late in the morning when the flames had been fought to a standstill, that he took time to change his clothing and get a bite to eat. A large number of firemen and citizen helpers suffered frozen ears, feet and fingers. As is most always the case under similar circumstances, hot coffee had much to do with limbering up the firemen.
Chief Phillips writes that the building was a two-story brick veneered structure, fully thirty years old, with three stores on the ground floor, while the second floor was occupied by a number of families. It was heated throughout with stoves. Although nothing definite was learned about the origin of the flames, it is thought that they may have started under the stairway. That no more casualties were recorded is short of a miracle.
Newport, R. I., to Purchase Apparatus—The board of aldermen of Newport, R. I., voted to purchase an AmericanLaFrance pumper.
Victoria, B. C., Entertains Old-Time Members—The veterans of the fire department at Victoria, B. C., were the guests of the members of the department at an entertainment held in the recreation hall. The firemen’s band entertained.