BRIDGE FIRE AT ST. CHARLES

BRIDGE FIRE AT ST. CHARLES

Structure Over Missouri River Sustains $150,000 Damage

The paid fire department of St. Charles, Mo., of which Henry Hachtmeyer, Jr., is chief, had the most stubborn fire it has had to contend with since it was inaugurated eight years ago, when the bridge of the St. Louis and St. Charles Bridge Company was damaged by fire to the extent of about $150,000. The structure, known as the St. Charles Highway Bridge, was completed in 1904 at a cost of approximately $450,000, and is about three-quarters of a mile long. It extends from St. Charles into St. Louis county across the Missouri River and has five caisson piers, filled with concrete, and four spans, the approaches on both sides of the river being constructed of wood and approximately 650 feet long each and were used for foot passengers, wagons, and street cars. The beams and ties were of yellow pine and the double floor was of oak. The fire consumed the wooden portions of the bridge and bent and sagged some of the lower, pieces of steel. The fire started at the western edge of the river, which is about 105 feet high at that point and a strong southerlywind fanned the flames to such an extent that in thirteen minutes it travelled from one end to the other of the piers, which are about 306 feet apart. The cause of the fire is unknown and it w as discovered by a car company employee and the department was notified by telephone at 5.15 p. m. Owing to the rapid spread of the fire, fanned by the flames, the department on its arrival found half of the first span almost destroyed and beyond the reach of the department. Chief Hachtmeyer had two combination ladder and hose wagons in service and had four paid firemen, and nine call men. There were also twenty-five car company firemen. Chief F. E. Henderson sent a motor combination pumper and hose car from St. Louis but could not get near enough to the river to obtain water on the east side of the river. Chief Hachtmeyer had eight hydrant streams on the burning structure, the pressure at the mains being 100 pounds and the mains ten and tw-elve inches. Three thousand feet of cotton rubber-lined hose were in use. The fire burned fourteen hours. Chief Hachtmeyer and the firemen worked skilfully and efficiently and the fire was practically stopped at the starting point so far as gaining anv headway into the city. On the north side of the bridge stands the large plant of the American Car and Foundry Company. This plant extends about six blocks and two of its largest buildings arc practically fireproof. The company has an organized fire department which rendered valuable aid. To the south is the business section of the city with buildings, constructed of brick, two and three stories high. Chief Hachtmeyer and the firemen did such good work that a St. Charles newspaper, in an account of the fire, said: “The work of the American Car and Foundry Company was so effective that the flames were gradually driven back to beyond the west abutment of the first span.” and “Chief Hachtmeyer held a cool head and fought the flames with telling result. To his good services the car shops owe a great deal as well as owners of all of the property along Adams street, between the river and Second street.

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