BURNING OF A RESIN FACTORY.
ELIZABETH, N. J., August 20, 1906.
Three months ago Elizabeth had a very destructive fire by which the plant of the Bay Way Refining company, at the Port, was completely wiped out. The same locality has again suffered in a similar way. This time the blaze was in the refining plant of the New York Resin Oil & Varnish works, which was burned on the night of August 18. The flames left the plant a total wreck, and inflicted on its owners a loss of quite $30,000, which is only partially insured. The private watchman discovered the fire, and, as the plant had no connections with the city’s fire alarm system, telephoned to the house of engine company No. 4, which, in its turn, sent out an alarm that brought engines Nos. 4 and 5. Ten minutes afterwards—at 10:45—Chief Gerstung arrived and immediately turned in a general alarm. By the time the extra apparatus and men had arrived on the ground, however, the flames had made great headway, and had found plenty of inflammable stuff to feed upon. It was soon seen that it was impossible to save the building, and that all that could be done was to try to keep the fire from spreading to the Bay Way Refining company’s plant opposite. This the firemen did after a very hard fight. The origin of the blaze remains in doubt. Some say it was the work of an incendiary. The plant included a large store of oils and varnishes from the crude oil, and in the burned buildings were a stillhouse, a barreling house and a pumping house. There was an immense kettle in which pitch was refined, and it is thought the fire started in that. But it stood in the open yard, and no fire had been near it for nearly twenty-four hours—too long a period to allow of the idea being entertained that fire had smouldered in it unseen all that time. The fire department did its work well; but better water pressure and more adequate facilities are needed. With such a long waterfront as Elizabethport has, it is not right or safe for the fire department to be dependent on the chance assistance of some tug or another. A firelioat, owned by the city, is what should be relied upon. Some additional two-way hydrants might also be set. D. S.