Cork Factory Burned in Brooklyn.
The Diamond Cork Works, Nos. 198 to 208 Van Brunt street, Brooklyn, five stories high, covering a block, was destroyed last Tuesday by a fire that traveled from the cellar to the roof with such rapidity the employes barely had time to escape. Plentiful fire escapes with stairs enabled all the workers save four girls to reach the street in three minutes from the time the fire was discovered at 4:10 p. m. The four left behind were rescued quickly by firemen. Then began a fight against the Haines that lasted until long after midnight last night. The roof and the fifth floor of the building fell in soon after dark last night, but the fire still was smouldering in the cork bales stored on the first. second and third floors. The smoke from the burning cork made the work of the firemen doubly hazardous. All of that part of Brooklyn was covered with a cloud, and tenants temporarily were driven from hundreds of homes to escape being suffocated. The loss was estimated at $300,000. Deputy Chief O’Hara, who responded to the first alarm, sent out another and then two more, summoning all of the fire apparatus in South Brooklyn. More than 150 firemen were at work on the fire half an hour after it started. Acting Chief Kenlon and Deputy Chief Lally, who were taking the examination for fire chief in Manhattan, forsook their desks and started for Brooklyn as soon as they heard of the fire. That no lives were lost Acting Chief Kenlon ascribed entirely to the many means of exit afforded in the building. Edward Petersen, foreman of the works, first noticed the smoke coming up the elevator shaft, and ran into a room on the third floor where there were 230 girls and 40 men, and gave an alarm. Instantly there was a stampede for the stairs and fire escapes. Members of Engine Company No. 102 and Hook and Ladder Company Vo. 51, stationed in Van Brunt street, opposite the works, ran across the street and up the stairs. On the third floor they found four girls unconscious and carried them down and into the engine house. Ambulances were summoned from the Long Island College and Brooklyn hospitals. The four girls on being revived, were sent to their homes. Four alarms sent in quick succession brought most of the South Brooklyn fire apparatus to the scene, also two fireboats, the latter stretching their lines of hose from their berths in the Buttermilk channel two blocks away. One of the water towers present at the blaze was placed in Van Brunt street, directly in front of the burning building, and several firemen in attempting to mount it were hurled from the rungs to the pavement by a current of electricity occasioned by a short circuit made by one side of the tower coming in contact with the overhead trolley wires. None of the men was disabled for duty and all resumed work after the tower had been shifted to a safer position between the trolley wires. The accompanying picture was made from a photograph kindly loaned to FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING by the New York Press.