Determine Travel of Fire Before Operating
Failure to Head-Off Extension Responsible for Large Loss; Know the Size of Your Fire at the Start
PROPER handling of this fire requires, as in all cases, immediate determination of the extent of the fire, and its directions of travel.
In its desire to quickly bring a fire under control a fire department frequently concentrates its efforts on what appears to be the largest part of the fire without clicking up the extension of fire ino new territory.
This fire was unique in that there were so many open passages for spread of fire and such unusual means for this extension in the shape of frame conveyor sheds, and highly combustible materials on the conveyors and beneath them.
The sketch herewith shows the layout of the plant and the occupancy of the various buildings.
As described in our last issue, the plant had its own fire brigade which consisted of workmen assigned to the duty of extinguishing fire in the event of an alarm. The only apparatus included hose reels and 2 1/2 inch hose thereon.
The plant had its own water system consisting of seven hydrants all suoplied with a pressure of around 50 pounds.
The plant was located in the suburbs of the city and was fed by a ten-inch main about a mile long. There were five available hydrants on this ten-inch main for use in the event of fire in the plant.
The city fire department consists of three engine companies, four hose companies, one ladder company and one chemical company.
All three engine companies are provided with 750 gallon punqiers while each hose wagon carries from 1,200 to 2,000 feet of hose.
Response to alarms from this plant by the municipal fire department is as follows:
First alarm: Engine Co. No. 1, Hose Co. No. 1, Truck Co. No. 1 and Chemical Co. No. 1.
Second alarm: Engine Co. No. 2, Hose Cos. No. 2 and 3. Third’ alarm: Engine Co. No. 3 and Hose Co. No. 4.
There were two engines held in reserve in the department. The water pressure in the city main was maintained between 80 and 90 pounds during the course of the fire and there seemed to be a good supply of water at all times.
The fire originated in the huller building and extended to all parts of the plant through frame conveyor sheds leading from the huller.
Just how the fire traveled through these sheds is not definitely known for its progress had not been appreciated until several buildings had been involved.
It appears, however, that fire originating in the hullers quickly flashed along an accumulation of lint beneath the coneveyor into the delinting house.
From this point fire traveled through the conveyor sheds or beneath the conveyors both to linting press room and through the seed cleaning house to the seed house.
Fire, after involving the huller building, quickly spread to the press room through conveyors and also to the hull house and meal house through conveyor sheds.
The fire occurred just at noon hour as the machines were about to be shut down. An alarm was immediately sounded bringing out the plant brigade, and ten minutes thereafter an alarm was transmitted for the municipal fire department, which responded with Engine Co. No. 1, Hose Co. No. 1, Truck Co. No. 1 and Chemical Co. No. 1.
Suggested Method of Handling Fire
This fire should be handled with the first alarm assignment, in addition to the plant brigade.
It will be assumed, as described in the story of the fire, that upon the arrival of the department three lines are in operation by the private fire brigade, from plant hydrants No. 3, 4 and 7, the latter of which is located just above the hull house as shown in the diagram.
After making a quick survey of the layout—at the same time stretching two lines into plant—it will likely he discovered that fire has entered hull house, delinting house, and press room.
This survey should be made at once, for the three lines in operation by the private fire brigade can well hold the fire in the huller building while check-up is being performed.
Assume that at the time the check-up is made fire is burning in the hull house, and in the conveyor shed leading to it; also in the conveyor shed and just entering the meal house: also in the press room: likewise in the delinting house and the conveyor shed between the huller building and delinting house.
One of lines from Engine Co. No. 1 stationed at hydrant No. 3 should he stretched to the delinting house, wetting down the fire therein and following the tire back through the conveyor shed into the huller building.
The second line from Engine Co. No. I to he stretched to the hull house, wetting down the fire therein and following the fire back through the conveyor shed to the huller building.
If necessary impress into service available workmen in the plant to assist in stretching lines.
Station Hose Co. No. 1 at hydrant No. 2 and stretch two lines from hydrant No. 2. with the assistance of workmen of the plant, one of these lines going to the meal house to head off fire from entering thereinto and to follow along the conveyor shed into the press room.
The other line should be stretched directly to the press room to wet down therein and hold the fire until some of the Other lines become available. There is likely a connection between the city water main ami the private water system of the plant so that in the event of water running short in the private plant system, the connecting valve should be opened to supply the plant with a plentiful quantity of water.
Members of truck company, upon arriving, assist in whatever manner possible in opening up and stretching lines ; also in making surveys to head off any fire which is originating of spreading.
Assign members of chemical company to stretch a line from private hydrant No. 2 to operate in on press room.
As the lines from engine Co. No. 1 succeed in following up the fire to the huller building they will operate into the huller building and in this way quickly bring the fire under control.
The above assignment should be able to handle the situation; which is not a serious one if the extensions are covered at the start.