Cold Day for a Hot Fire
Syracuse, N. Y., fire fighters, responding to three alarms, fought a longdrawn-out battle in three-above zero temperature on March 2, 1953, to control a raging fire in the 6-story Mowry Block which threatened the downtown area. At least 30 persons fled in nightclothes, after warnings by two Syracuse firemen who detected the blaze as they were en route to duty about 7:25 A.M. These men, Lieut. Lewis Gaurnier and Fireman John Murphy, sounded the alarm and went through the building to alert the occupants. About 20 fifth floor tenants made their way down rear fire escapes. Others were taken down fire ladders.
Cause of the fire, which did damage of upwards of $500,000 to the 30-apartment building, including six stores on the ground floor, was not immediately determined. Fire Chief William J. Connelly attributes the spread to an old elevator shaft, and concealed roof spaces.
Fire fighters, who used many heavy streams from every vantage point, employed “walkie-talkies” to communicate from the streets to crews operating on roofs.
Alerted to Syracuse fire fighters, under the County’s mutual aid system, were about 100 firemen from Solvay, East Syracuse, Mattydale, Nedrow, Taunton, Lyncourt and Liverpool. Four fire fighters received minor injuries, but many suffered from the bitter weather, which failed, however, to detract crowds of the curious.