Business Block in Adams Burns
The Collins Block, a four-story brick structure, 100 by 50 feet, in the business centre of Adams, Mass., was seriously damaged by fire which was discovered at 2.45 A. M., April 8, and burned four hours. The fire started, from an unknown cause, at one end of the second floor and burned the stairway, the flames shooting out of a long window and up the stairway to the top floor and to the roof, a mansard roof and burned out the roof and the upper floor which together fell in upon the third story which was burned somewhat. The second floor was damaged by water. A lot of old wooden buildings within ten and twenty feet of the rear of the building were in danger but the department succeeded in preventing the spread of the fire. From the roof of a hotel, thirty feet across, the firemen used three lines of hose to good advantage. At a livery stable nearby the firemen had 150 feet of hose, which was bought over thirty years ago, and this was put to use at one place and stood sixty pounds pressure.
l,800 feet of hose was held in reserve at that time. 100 pounds was the normal pressure at the hydrants and 60 pounds was the lowest. Thirteen hydrant streams were on the fire and three deluge sets were used. 4,500 feet of hose were in use. The building was occupied by banks, lawyers’ and others’ offices and club rooms and the Masonic order. The building was valued at $50,000. When the department under command of Chief Henry A. Jones arrived the flames were shooting out of the long window at the end of the building to the top of the building.
A passerby saw smoke issuing from the long end window and telephoned to the police. At the same time man in the rooms of the Pastime Club, located in the building, discovered the fire and rang in an alarm from a box in the street nearby. This was at 2.45 a. m., and the fire burned four hours. Local newspapers speak in high terms of the work of the fire department and of the excellence of the water supply. The “North Adams Herald,” said: “The excellence of the water supply was demonstrated by the fact that the firemen had all the water they needed and were enabled through almost superhuman efforts to confine the ravages of the fire principally to the two top floors of the building. The water damage to all the occupants of the building was almost complete, some sustaining an entire loss.” Four of the brick chimneys on the building toppled over at one time or another, one of them on the east side crashing against the Smith Building which adjoins the Collins property and tearing away an outside stairway from which several firemen were fighting the flames but a moment before. The damage to building and contents was estimated at about $50,000.