Burning of the Gramatan Hotel.

Burning of the Gramatan Hotel.

On the night of Monday, June 8 the new Gramatan hotel at Bronxville, Westchester county, N. Y., sustained a serious loss by fire, the cause of which is set down to the explosion of an alcohol lamp or defectively insulated electrical wires. The flames burned fiercely for over an hour and for some time threatened to destroy several fine cottages in Lawrence Park near the hotel, on the roofs of which sparks and burning embers kept constantly falling. A large garage, distant only a few hundred feet, a bank and a suite of bachelor apartments in the Gramatan arcade were also saved; but with difficulty. The fire department of Bronxville was first on the scene; Yonkers sent four engine companies with their crews; Mount Vernon, Waverly and Tuckahoe firemen were all on hand and by their good work confined the flames to one wing. The main building’s safety was insured by the fireproof iron doors that cut off the burning portion from that which was not attacked. The hotel was chiefly built of wood, but stucco and iron entered into its construction. It stood on a rocky bluff overlooking the Bronxville station and the Hudson river, and was not easily reached by any of the fire departments present The stairways, freight, passenger elevators and fire-escapes, however, afforded ample facilities for getting out of the building. All the guests got away, many of them, however, had no time to put on dress befitting the occasion, having been routed out of bed and forced to run for their lives. Their losses in the way of jewelry and other personal effects are set down as at least $50,000, that on the hotel being $150,000. The wind helped the flames to spread very rapidly to the different portions of the wing. The hotel was built in 1905, succeeding the Gramatan Inn, which, erected in 1897, was destroyed by fire on the evening of April 26, 1900. It was of ranging Spanish design, occupying a hill slope, with its various floors at peculiar and varying levels. The hotel, which was a very fashionable resort and a famous centre of automObiling, contained 265 sleeping rooms and was a very rambling structure, and was alwavs well filled with guests at every season of the vear. The insurance upon it amounted to over $1,000,000. The various fire departments did very good work. The hotel covered a space of 38,000 sq. ft. and only the diningroom extension was of stone. The inside was chiefly finished in lath and plaster, with open wooden stairways. The outside stairways, used, also, as fire-escapes, were of iron. Owing to the conformation of the building, the roof-spaces are not continuous. The electric elevators are inclosed in brick shafts-— one tile-lined, with doors of iron and glass. The five sections of the hotel were divided into_ five sections by 12-in. brick dividing walls, rising from the ground to above the ceiling of the upper stories (one above the roof) and flusn with the outer wall, all the ooenings being protected the metal-clad automatic doors. The Arcade, also, is similarly separated from the main building. The whole structure, which was 5-story and 4-story, is lit by electricity, all the wires being in conduits. The hotel equipment for fire protection is as follows: Two and one-halfinch standpipes, fed from the New Rochelle pumping station, lengths of 50 ft. of 2-in. cotton hose tank and six inmmersed pails in each section, watchman, with clock, who makes 24minute rounds, automatic alarm and the public fire department. The hydrants are within 50 ft. and too ft. of the buildings, which, it will be seen, are well protected. Before the firemen arrived, the standpipes were utilised by the hotel employes, who, also, closed the fire-doors between the different sections. Forty streams were thrown by the public fire departments, at a lower pressure than that on the interior standpipes. The fire-wall served as a means of covering retreat, but was not depended upon as a means of checking the flames. It was a temporary protection to the firemen. The doors were opened, so as to fight the flames more easily. This caused a draught, which carried the fire into another section, where it was at once put out, the flames being confined to the one in which the blaze originated. The two fire-doors in the top story which the firemen opened were badly damaged, and much damage was caused by water.

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