Bridgeport Has Four Multiple Alarm Fires
Damage was estimated at $200,000, and two firemen were injured following a spectacular two-alarm fire that completely destroyed the Congress High School at Bridgeport, Conn., on January 7. Firefighter Stanley Roman of Truck 5, and Pumper Engineer Harry Lill of Engine 12, were t.reated for injuries at St. Vincent’s Hospital.
Firefighter Roman was struck on the shoulder by a charged lioze nozzle and Pumper Engineer Lill was struck on the head by falling bricks.
The fire was first discovered by a resident of the neighborhood who telephoned to Fire Headquarters. Responding on a still alarm, Acting Lieut. Ellwyn Callahan of Squad radioed headquarters to send out a box alarm.
When Asst. Chief John P. May arrived on the box alarm he immediately ordered a second alarm sounded from Box 329. Washington Avenue and Lyon Terrace, opposite the school. Fire Chief Martin J. Hayden, in command of the fire, ordered additional companies when he arrived on the second alarm.
Erected in 1881, the three-story brick structure was the first to be constructed by the City of Bridgeport for high school purposes and was known originally as Bridgeport High School. Located on Congress Street, adjoining Central High School, a modern structure, it had a current enrollment of 487 pupils.
Battling a blaze visible in the surrounding towns of Stratford, Fairfield and Long Hill after its discovery at 3:28 A.M., firemen required more than four hours to bring the flames under control. The fire is believed by fire officials to have started in a rubbish barrel used for sweepings after evening classes are held in the school. The school is partially covered by insurance.
The first alarm was received at 3:28 A.M. The second alarm was sounded at 3:29 A.M. and the recall was sent in at 7:53 A.M. Seven companies fought the fire.
On January 10, four days after the Congress High School blaze, the Bridgeport Fire Department was again called to fight a two-alarm fire which leveled the Serv-All Garage at 68 DeKalb Avenue, in that city. An auto body repair and paint shop, the building was engulfed in flames when firemen arrived at the scene.
Seven automobiles were destroyed in this fire and three near-by houses damaged by sparks. Eight families were driven from their homes when smoke from the blaze filled the neighborhood. Extreme cold weather hampered the operations of firemen in their work. The fire is believed to have started by a short circuit in the electrical wiring of one of the autos in the garage.
The first alarm was received at 10:45 P.M., from Box 518, Newfield Avenue and Sea view Avenue. The second alarm was sounded by Asst. Chief George A. Butler at 10:54 P.M. Recall was at 11:33 P.M.
Following a two-alarm fire on January 19, which gutted the three-story brick building occupied by the New England Tobacco Company on East Main Street, causing damage estimated at $125,000, Bridgeport was confronted with its fourth double alarm blaze on January 28 when fire, feeding on gasoline, paint, lacquer and other inflammable materials, swept the interior of the Lyon Body Service on Knowlton Street, and destroyed nine automobiles in the two-story frame structure.
Thick smoke billowed high over the East Side district of the city. Sections of the building’s roof and second storyflooring caved in as flames raced up the walls and licked from windows and doors. Igniting of gasoline or gasoline fumes by an acetylene torch was given as the cause of the fire. Damage was estimated at $30,000.
The first alarm was received at 9:14 A.M., from Box 417, Knowlton Street, between East Washington and Crescent Avenues. A second alarm was radioed by Fire Chief Martin J. Hayden at 9:20 A.M. Five engine companies, two truck companies, and two Squad companies fought the fire. Recall was sounded at 10:15 A.M.