Double Block Burned at Gull Lake

Double Block Burned at Gull Lake

The Gull Lake, Sask., Canada, fire brigade under the command of Chief Frederick C. Hill, is altogether volunteer, but is well disciplined and trained as was shown by their handling of a fire that swept through the double Currie-MorrisonHoffman block in the center of the town, and occupying a space of 166 feet frontage and 60 feet deep. The height of the buildings destroyed was two stories, and it had been standing three years. The structure was of wood, with lath and plaster partition walls, and was not equipped with sprinkler apparatus. All it had in the way of private fire protection was a few small extinguishers, of little or no use to fight a fire that had made any kind of a start. As a means of saving any of the 16 persons who occupied or were employed in the building there was only a wooden stairway, which, of course, was soon rendered useless by the flames. The fire started at 10:30 a. m. in a tailor’s shop near the center of the building, presumably it originated from the careless use of gasoline, and burned till 10 o’clock p. m., when it was stopped at the north end. The first alarm was turned in by Chief Hill, and when the brigade came up the flames had made far too great headway for the chemical company to fight, and recourse was had to the Waterous gasoline pumping engine, which, with a 60-gallon tanked chemical engine formed the brigade’s equipment. The firemen met with no real hindrances in their operations, and although two sections of the block were all in flames within ten minutes after the alarm had been sent in, there is little doubt that it would have been got under control without spreading very far if it had not been for the fact that there was not another stream to throw on the roofs. But there were no solid partition walls and none of those who were operating on the fire were aware till too late of a false roof extending over the block. It was there that the flames got away from the firemen, who had only the one Siamese and could throw only two streams. No hydrants were available, and only the two streams from the engine could be utilised. The pressure, however, from the mains (the system being pumping direct) was good. The nozzles in use were 3inch, and 1,000 feet of cotton, rubber-lined hose were laid, of which one length was burned, but none burst. The fire was confined to the double block, but the Union Bank of Canada, distant 75 feet south from the burning building, caught and was slightly injured, as the flames were put out by the chemical. On the north side, where the fire was stopped, the Clarenden Hotel, separated from its southern neighbor by a 20-foot alleyway. As it was protected by a stout fire wall, the hose and nozzlemen held the fire to the south side of the alley and saved the hotel. The property destroyed was valued at $70,000; its contents at $55,000. The total loss was $70,000—$20,000 on the building and $50,000 on the contents.

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