CHICAGO HAS TWO THREATENING BUSINESS FIRES IN A WEEK
First One Entails Loss of Over $125,000—Second Is in Building in Course of Being Wrecked
THE city of Chicago suffered two threatening fires within a week of each other, in the last half of October, one of which caused a loss of over $100,000. The first of these occurred on October 13 in the building of the Puritan Mills, Inc., in the northwest side of the city. This brick and wood structure occupied a space of 100 x 100 feet, was two and four stories in height, and had been built about forty years. The fire started, according to information received from Chief Thomas F. Maher, fire marshal of the Sixth Battalion, in the northwest corner of the first floor, from an unknown cause, and the alarm was given by the night watchman of the Puritan Mills, who discovered the fire. This alarm, which came into headquarters through an A. D. T., was relayed to Engine Co. 34 at 5:45, and at 5:47 the lieutenant of this company pulled box No. 419. At 5:50, Battalion Chief Maher sent in a 3-11 alarm, and this was followed by three specials, the first at 6:03, by Division Fire Marshal J. P. Eagan, and the second and third by Chief Arthur R. Seiferlich, at respectively 6:10 and 6:31. This made a total of six alarms for this 5 fire. The accompanying diagram, furnished through the courtesy of Chief Maher, gives a very clear idea of the lay-out and the method of fighting the blaze.
The apparatus in service consisted i of ten Ahrens-Fox 750-gal. and 16 Seagrave 750-gal. pumpers; three Seagrave and three department shop-built aerial trucks; t hree White squad wagons; and one department shop built highpressure wagon. The hydrants in use were Crcgier double 2 1/2 and 4″ and Chicago, 4 1/2″, spaced in the east and west streets, 5 0, 150 and 400 feet and in the north and south streets, 300 feet, The pressure at the hydrants was 20 pounds and 24 engine si treams were thrown during the fire. The nozzles were 1 1/4, 1 1/2,and 2″, and the number of feet of hose laid was 2/“, 13,700, and 3″, 7,500, a total of 21,200 feet. High pressure wagon turret pipes and Siamese deluge sets were also brought into service.
Fight engine companies operated s treams from the roofs of buildings west and south of the fire; three operated lines into high pressure turrets; eight operated lines into two-way Siamese sets in street; three operated lines in street; two operated lines from fire escapes on fourth and fift h floors of building south of fire and northeast corner of building: two stretched lines into building west of fire, patrolling floors, but did not charge or operate lines; tw o hook and ladder companies and squad companies pulled engine companies’ lines to roof; two hook and ladder and squad companies patrolled floors of buildings south and west of the fire, and four hook and ladder and squad companies assisted engine companies to work in street and engaged in general truck work.
The total personnel at the fire, including chief fire marshal, three division fire marshals, two chiefs of battalion, officers and men, included 212.
The loss of the building, valued at $75,000, was $50,000, and that on the contents, general milling supplies, valued at $60,000, was $55,000.
Chief Seyferlich had a narrow escape from serious injury at this fire, when, just as he was ordering some of the officers and men to retreat front a dangerous position below a wall threatening to collapse, a brick tower, built a half story higher than the rest of the structure, toppled and the debris, including a heavy power pole, with high voltage wires, just missed the fire marshal. The men moved out of the way just in time, as the wall fell. One fireman was injured at the fire, but not seriously.
The second fire was in a building in the down town district formerly occupied by the Tobey Furniture Company, but which was vacant at the time of the blaze and was being torn down. The building was 125×200 feet and was six stories in height, and the fire originated from an unknown cause. The apparatus in service were nine Seagrave and fifteen Ahrens-Fox pumpers; one water tower; five truck and three squad companies. There were twelve 4 1/2″ double hydrants, one cistern and a high pressure standpipe in use. Some 2,700 feet of 2 1/2 and 3-inch hose were laid, and turret pipes and deluge sets were also brought into service. The loss at this fire was only $1,500, owing to the fact that the building was unoccupied at the time.
in referring to this blaze Chief Anthony J. Durkin, fire marshal of the First Battalion, writes: “This building, once owned and occupied by the Tobey Furniture Company, was being wrecked to make way for a new building. The fire was making such great headway upon my arrival that I immediately ordered a 4-11 alarm struck, followed in a lew minutes by two special calls, each for five engine companies. On arrival of the engine companies the conditions wore such as to hinder the firemen from going to work, due to the falling of bricks and cornices, and 1 immediately ordered companies to go into Siamese, and to work siamese pipe: to stretch lines from high pressure inside standpipe svstem in the Peoples Trust Building, and to place water tower, high pressure wagons and every other? lable apparatus around the burning structure, so as to prevent the fire from communicating with surrounding buildings, and to assist in extinguishing the blaze. As a matter of fact, this building, while occupied by the Tobey Furniture Company, was never known to have a fire, due to the company’s strict compliance with the fire prevention laws and ordinances.”