Box Factory Fire at Lynn
The factory section of Lynn, Mass., was threatened by fire Jan. 30, when a three-story wooden building 100 x 50 in Farrar street, occupied by John Owens, a box manufacturer, was destroyed and several nearby structures caught fire, including the Suffolk street garage, where an explosion took place, and also one of the largest brick buildings in the city. The total loss is estimated at $75,000. The building in which the fire started made the hottest blaze which the department has encountered in several years. It had gained so much headway before it was discovered that the flames were coming through the roof when the first pieces of apparatus reached the scene in response to an alarm at 7.05 p. m. This was followed immediately by a second alarm and a third five minutes later. The fire in the Owens factory broke all records of recent years for getting under way quickly and spreading to all parts of the structure. Chief E. E. Chase likened it to a flash of powder. So rapidly did the flames spread that motor ladder truck 3 was saved only with great difficulty as soon as its ladder had been raised against the burning structure. When Chief Chase reached the scene he saw at a glance that the big realty building must be saved, even if two or three wooden tenement houses in the vicinity were sacrificed. By hard work all were saved. The third alarm brought seven engines and the motor pumping engine from Swampscott and all were needed. The firemen not only were called upon to prevent the fire from spreading to nearby structures, but they had to devote a great deal of attention to the building itself or the heat would have become so intense, without the cooling effect of the water, that buildings nearby would have become ignited, although out of reach of the flames. Fifteen minutes after the fire started it was so hot on the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street that it was impossible to remain facing the blaze more than a few moments without retreating.
The Suffolk street garage was directly at the rear of the box factory, and the flames leaped across a narrow alleyway and set fire to the rear of the garage, and four au os which were left behind were damaged beyond repair. The flames followed along the ceiling of the garage to the front office, but they were checked before any of the main timbers of the structure had been destroyed. In the garage an explosion of gasolene took place, which ripped out a section of the rear part of the building. No one was in the building at the time and no one was injured. Realty building No. 1 in Broad street, was protected by a water curtain, which was started operating by the engineer of the building. The rear of this building is directly opposite the box factory. The water curtain kept it perfectly cool
The building destroyed was formerly used as a carriage factory. It was of unusually strong and substantial construction for a wooden building, and the first floor, which was formerly used for the exhibition of the carriages, was finished in hard wood and was used at the time of the fire for the manufacture of wooden boxes. The upper floors were formermerly used as a paint shop and the floors were soaked with paint, while the third floor, occupied by a shoe concern, was also pretty well saturated with shellac and cement. A portion of the two upper floors was used for storage, and the building was equipped with a storage, and the building sufficient number of exits to have given me employees an opportunity to escape if the fire had started during working hours. Many shutters on adjoining buildings were wide open, leaving the window casings at the mercy of the flames.
The building destroyed was three stories high, 200 ft. square and was built of wood fifty years ago. It had no partition walls. The entire building was in flames when the department arrived. There were nine steam engines, including Amoskeag, Metropolitan and Buttons, and four chemical engines in service. Eighteen streams with 1 1/4-inch nozzles were operated through 10,000 feet of hose, three lengths of which were burned. The water pressure was 65 pounds and twelve six-inch hydrants were used. The total loss was $100,000. The value of the property was $525,000.