Boston Has 4-Alarm Hotel Fire
Four alarms were sounded early in the evening of December 15 for a fire which swept the upper floors of the Hotel Elliott, an old 6-story brick building in the Elliott Square section of the Roxbury district in Boston, Mass.
The first alarm was sounded from Box 2252, corner of Dudley and Putnam streets, at 8:11 p. m. District Chief Frank Sbeeran ordered a second alarm immediately upon his arrival at 8:15. This brought additional apparatus and Chief Daniel F. Sennott to the scene. Chief Sennott ordered a third alarm at 8:25 and a fourth alarm at 8:36.
The fire originated froman undetermined cause, possibly a bolt of lightning, and flames shot up through a former dumbwaiter shaft that was used as a paper chute and which was partly filled with waste paper. The flames after shooting up from the second floor through the shaft mushoomed on the two upper floors and there was a hot air explosion in the space between the ceiling of the top floor and the roof which aided in spreading the fire.
Some daring rescues were made by the crew of Didder Company No. 12 under Lieutenant Edward F. Doyle. Four persons were brought down from a top story window in the rear over an extension ladder on Blanchard street, a ten foot street at the side of the building. There were seventy-persons in the building and most of these made their Way out by the front stairs. Those on the top floor were trapped until rescued by the ladder company. One woman died from exhaustion on the way to a hospital.
All lights in the building went out soon after the start of the fire and the darkness added to the confusion of the tenants. The flames raged fiercely on the two upper floors and extended down to the third floor. Sections of roof coping fell to the street and menaced firemen. Two wagon guns were used and lines were taken over stairways and ladders and to the roofs of nearby houses.
The department laid 10,350 feet of 2 1/2-inch cotton rubber lined hose. Nozzles on mobile lines were l 1/4-mch. On the two Morse wagon guns, l 3/4-inch tips were used. There were plenty of Lowry hydrants and some post hydrants available.
Chief Sennott was assisted by the following officers at the fire: Assistant Chief Henry A. Fox, Deputy Chief Frank Sweeney, Deputy Chief Walter M. McLean, District Chief Frank Sheeran, District Chief Kelly, and District Chief Lally. Damage was estimated at $60,000.
The apparatus in service was American-LaFrance.
There was a delay in giving the alarm as the janitor of the building who was eating his supper in the basement stopped to assist his wife and family from the building when the fire was discovered before he ran out and pulled in the alarm.
By the time the first apparatus reached the scene flames were leaping from the windows of the two upper floors. The weather was rainy and the wet roofs minimized the danger from flying embers.
Apparatus responding to the four alarms included fifteen engines, five ladder trucks and one water tower.