Danbury Has Epidemic of Fires

Danbury Has Epidemic of Fires

A firebug’s reign of terror that started at 9 P;M. on April 3, and ended at 2:30 the following morning, during which ten fires of incendiary origin broke out in various sections of Danbury, Conn., including one at the Star Hotel which extensively damaged the 65-room structure, was subject of fire, local and state police departments’ investigation.

The hotel fire was discovered by a passerby who, after seeing smoke pouring from the building, turned in an alarm at 10:52 P.M., from Box 27, White Street and Maple Avenue. When Fire Chief John C. McNamara arrived on the scene, he found the fire had spread with rapidity and up an open stairwell, had reached the fourth floor and broken through the roof. He ordered a general alarm sounded at 10:55 P.M., which brought all Danbury apparatus to the scene. Nearly 200 firemen from 11 paid and volunteer fire companies fought the flames.

Damage to the hotel building and contents was estimated at from $20,000 to $25,000. On the upper floors, many of the rooms were badly damaged.

Other fires discovered during the “reign of terror” were a fire in the second floor office of the Allen-O’Brien Insurance Agency, 181 Main Street; an automobile owned by Anthony Gallo, parked on White Street, in which rags were found wrapped around a hot exhaust pipe on the car, smouldering, causing the smoke; fire in a warehouse of the Seaman-Lynch Hardware Company, near Fire Headquarters on Ives Street. Investigation disclosed that entrance to the building was gained by breaking a window.

While returning from this fire, the firemen found that a window had been smashed in the department’s repair shop building in the rear of the Ives Street Fire Headquarters.

The next fire was discovered at 9:45 P.M., in a car parked on National Place. The blaze was in the upholstery. At 10:25 P.M., the next call was received. This was for an automobile parked on Stevens Lane. Again the fire was in the car’s upholstery. While leaving Maiden Lane, on their way back to Headquarters, firemen discovered another blaze. This was in a bale of fur which had been pushed against the Pruman Fur Company’s building, Stevens Lane.

While returning from a grass fire on Clapboard Ridge, which was brought under control without incident, firemen spotted a blaze in the rear of Mac’s Men’s Store, 280 Main Street. Again it was found that debris had been piled against the building. Damage was slight. At 2 A.M., employes in the roundhouse of the New Haven Railroad heard the sprinkler bell, on the factory of John W. Green & Sons Hat factory on Pahquioque Avenue, sounding. Going to the factory, the railroaders found five separate fires had been started on the third floor of the building. An alarm was sounded from Box 7, nearby. Quick action on the part of the weary fire-fighters saved this building from destruction. The last call came at 2:28 A.M., from Box 28, Maple and Union Avenues, which proved to be a false alarm.

Shortly after 8 A.M., the following morning, employes of the Federal Glass Company on Elm Street discovered the lock on a storage warehouse in the rear of the establishment had been broken during, the night. Checking the interior of the building, employes found a fire had been started underneath a pile of wooden frames used in transporting glass. However, because of the thick ness of the wood, the fire burned itself out before causing extensive damage. Fire officials also attributed this blaze as of incendiary origin. TOM MAGNER

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