CITY AND VICINITY
MAGNESO-CALCITE FOR SAFE LININGS.
An exhibition of the fire-resisting qualities of magneso-calcite, a new lining for safes, bank vaults and warehouse shutters, was given recently at Elm Park, Ninth avenue and Ninety-second street, under the direction of Mr. Hoey, of Adams Express Company. A large iron chest of the kind commonly used by Adams Express Company for transporting money and valuables, having a two-inch lining of the new material, and which contained $200 in $2 notes, a box of cigars and a number of books, was placed in the midst of a burning mass of hard wood. After a test of more than three hours, during which the chest was subjected to an intense heat, it was withdrawn and a hose played upon it to cool it. T he chest was then opened and the contents found not only unharmed but hardly warm. Smaller tin and iron bond and note cases, having a lining of only one inch of the patented material, were subjected to the fire for more than an hour. When these were withdrawn and opened their contents were found to be without the least injury. The tests were witnessed by a number of safe-makers, builders, insurance officers, officers of the Magneso-Calcite Fire-Proof Company, of Boston, and by Charles O. Shea, Assistant Chief of the Fire Department, all of whom seemed to be perfectly satisfied with the success of the tests. The lining itself is composed of layers of material resembling straw board and asbestos pressed and hardened.
THE PARK THEATRE BURNED.
On Monday evening Abbey’s Park Theatre, at the southeast corner of Broadway and Twenty-second street, was within the space of an hour reduced to a mass of smoking ruins. The renowned actress, Mrs. Langtry, was to have made her first appearance there before an American audience on that night, in the comedy, ” The Unequal-Match.” The scene was set for the first act, when at 4 30 o’clock fire was discovered near a proscenium box. The employees tried to put the fire out themselves, but their fruitless efforts were another demonstration of the little value to be placed on private fire extinguishing facilities, within the burning building. The statement is made that the fire extinguishers were tried, but long disuse had rendered them unworkable. An attempt was made to get at the stage hose, but the flames had gained great headway, and this could not be done. It was then, and not till then, that an effort was made to press the fire alarm knob which gave communication with the headquarters of the Fire Department. Though the breaking of the glass-casing about this instrument was all that was necessary in order to press the knob, this could not be done effectually under the excitement of the moment, and the building had to be abandoned before the Firemen arrived. The first alarm was sent from Box No. 379, in front of the Fifth avenue hotel, by Christopher Ktick, Engineer of No. 19 Engine Company, at 4.40 P. M. He saw that there had been a fatal delay, and sent out, at 4.43 p. M., a second and third alarm. This made the force of the Fire Department at the fire, Engine Companies Nos. 14, 1, 16, 19, 26, 5, 18, 3, 33, 37 and 21, and Hook and Ladder Companies Nos. 7, 12, 3 and 5. At that time the flames had not made much progress toward the Broadway side, but were raging fiercely on the Twenty-second street side. At 5*20 the Firemen had tillflames under control, but Abbey’s Park Theatre was then no more. Surrounding buildings were damaged to some extent. The old site will not be used for a new theatre. Two theatre employees met their death in the fire and one was badly injured.
Fire Marshal Sheldon on Wednesday began his investigation into the cause of the fire. Hamilton Weaver, the machinist of the theatre, said: “I was on the stage at the time. The stage was all clear, and we were getting ready to set the scene. I first saw the fire in the partition between the front of the house and the stage, and on the right-hand side of the stage facing the auditoriunt, about sixteen feet above the stage, apparently alongside the second proscenium box. This partition was of matched boards on the stage side. They had shrunken apart some, and I discovered the fire through the cracks. I stretched the hose, gave the pipe to some one, and ran to start the pump. Others tried to fight the fire with extinguishers. When I returned the flies were all ablaze. This occupied two minutes altogether. I have no idea what could start a fire in that partition. I think it must have come from the box. I saw upholsterers at work in the box that morning.” Annie Roworth, the janitress, said : “At the time the fire was discovered, 1 was in the box over Mr. Abbey’s. Mrs. McDonald was with me. I heard a noise like water dripping and immediately saw smoke coming into the box from the cracks in the partition between the box and the stage. There was a gas light in the box. It was lighted at the time. The upholsterer at work in Mr. Abbey’s box left about half an hour before the fire. There were other strange men at work about the place all day.” George E. Henry, the property maker, added nothing of importance to the story.
NOTES OF MEN AND THINGS.
Fireman James McManus, of Hook and Ladder Company No. 19, of New York, has been transferred to Engine Company No. 47, and Engineer Ezra N. Lefterts, of Engine Company No. 20, to Engine Company No. 24.
The Board of Fire Commissioners on Thursday fined Engineer Robert Pallette, of Engine Company No. 7, and Private William P. Neary, of the same Company, two days’ pay for absence. In the case of Private Donohue, of Engine Company No. 13, the Board dismissed the complaint.
The pedestrian Fitzgerald, who won the late six days’ race at Madison Square Garden, lives in Ravenswood, Long Island City. On Monday evening the Fire Companies in the lower wards of the city gave a torch-light parade in honor of the distinguished Fitzgerald. Blazing bonfires illuminated the city and in passing through the upper wards, embracjjig the villages ol Astoria and Steinway, the parading Firemen received a warm salutation from their brethren in that section of the city.
The Fire Commissioners asked for an appropriation for the support of the Fire Department during 1883 to the amount of $1,671,905. The appropriation last year was $1,464,850. The Department has been allowed $1,585,745 by the Board of Apportionment. By this increase in the appropriation the New York Department is to be rendered more efficient by the addition of several engines and hook and ladder trucks. This new apparatus is intended to be utilized in the most dangerous part of the city as supplementary to that already in use, so that these districts shall never ibe without apparatus when the regular Companies are in attendance at fires. Another Assistant Chief of Department, at a salary of $3500 per annum, is also authorized. There has always been apprehension that two or three fires in different parts of the city might occur simultaneously, and, while the apparatus was employed at one, the second might imperil the safety of the city. A recent experience of this nature satisfied the Commissioners that the danger from this source was too imminent to be ignored, and hence their desire to duplieate engines in present districts. The provision is a wise one. It is to be only regretted that the Board of Apportionment did not accept the full estimates of the Fire Commissioners.
The death of two Firemen during the present week was recorded. First was that of Engineer Johnson, of Engine Company No 24, who died of fever last week, and was buried on Tuesday of this week. The second was that of Fireman Michael Connor, of Engine Company No. 14, who died on Tuesday from the effects of an accident received October 2 in a very singular manner. Ho was exercising on a horizontal bar in the gymnasium of the engine-house, when an alarm was sounded upon the gong. With the true instincts of a Fireman, he sprang to respond to the call, but in swinging himself from the bar to the floor he slipped and fell, injuring his spine in such a manner that he had to be conveyed to the hospital. Here he lingered for twenty-nine days, when death put an end to his sufferings. The funerals of both these members of the Department were attended by many of their comrades and friends.