DESTRUCTIVE FIRE AT PITTSBURGH.
On June 22 a fire in one of the principal downtown business blocks of Pittsburgh, Pa., caused a loss of $250,000. It involved eight buildings containing many office tenants. The fire was first discovered in the rear of the Eichbaum company printing establishment, and is set down to spontaneous combustion. The Eichbaum building, fronting Fifth avenue, a few doors below Wood street, was six stories high, and was tenanted by many officeholders—among them being Duff’s college, and the Holmes Electric company. In an incredibly short time the entire building was a mass of flames, which, before the firemen could do much effective work, had communicated to the Exchange National Bank building an iron building, next door below,and from there to the Hussey building adjoining. Simultaneously the fire extended to a saloon and restaurant and a flower store on the upper side. For a time the entire block hounded by Fifth avenue, Wood, Diamond and Market streets seemed doomed. Immense firebrands were carried by the wind to buildings in all directions and numerous incipient blazes resulted. Fortunately, however, the roofs of ail the buildings in the district were soon manned by private fire brigades, who prevented the fire from spreading beyond the buildings named. The roof of the First National bank, 250 feet away from the Eichbaum building and on the other side of the street, caught fire, but was soon extinguished without material damage. The new Western Union Telegraph office building, immediately opposite Eiehbaum’s was saved by the extra precautionary measures adopted by the company’s officials. In the rooms of Duff’s Business college fifty or more students were at work. They had to run for their lives—not having time even to gather their belongings together. The Eichbaum building was completely destroyed and the Hussey building had the three upper stories burned and the lower floors flooded with water. When the Eichbaum building had been gutted, the wall of the “L” portion, which ran in back of Platt’s and Murdock’s buildings, fell, crushing in the rear portions of Wood street buildings, occupied by the American Express company, and many other tenants. Several firemen were caught in the debris of the wall, hot none were badly hurt. The losses are fully covered by insurance. The Exchange National Bank did not suffer much damage, except by water, by reason of the fact that its building is only a two-story structure between the two big office buildings, and the flames practically skipped over it. The new Champion water tower, described elsewhere in this impression, was tried for the first time, and did good work while in operation, although it was not brought into service until late.