Dust Explosion in Burlington Makes Hard Fire to Handle
An, explosion in the condenser in the cocoa room, of the threeand two-story factory of the Vermont Chocolate Company, in the southern portion of Burlington, Vt., caused a fire which gave the department, under Chief Carl D. Stockwell, a hard battle of eleven hours’ duration. The structure was of brick, with steel frame and wooden flooring, and had been built only about a year. The partition walls were of brick. The alarm was pulled from box 61 at 9:40 p. m., and when the firemen arrived, the entire first floor was a mass of flames, and rapidly spreading throughout the entire building. There were available four six-inch double hydrants, spaced 200 and 500 feet apart, but Chief Stockwell complained that he was much hampered by lack of pressure in handling the fire. The department has no pumping engines and had to rely entirely on the hydrant pressure in controlling the blaze. Seven hydrant streams were thrown, there being 6,000 feet of cotton rubber-lined hose laid. A Draeger smoke helmet was used to great advantage. The fire was the result of an explosion of cocoa dust, which under certain conditions is highly inflammable and dangerous if exposed to an open flame. Two of the employees lost their lives in the fire, which spread with such rapidity that they were unable to escape.
The loss was estimated at close to a million dollars.
The building of the Stamford Foundry Company, Stamford, Conn., three and five stories in height and constructed of frame, partly iron sheathed, caught fire recently, probably from a carelessly thrown match, and the fire was not under control of the department, under command of Chief Harry W. Parker, until the building and part of the adjoining structure were destroyed. The apparatus in use consisted of three American-LaFrance pumpers, one Locomobile combination car, and two American-LaFrance ladder trucks. Besides these, the three out-of-town companies present at the fire had one Hale combination chemical and hose, one Brockway combination chemical, and one Ford combination chemical cars in use. Eight engine and one hydrant streams were thrown, there being six double hydrants available, with pressure at 50 pounds. In all 5,000 feet of hose were laid. The value of the buildings was $30,000, loss $15,000. The contents were valued at $100,000, with loss at $23,000.