Explosion and Fire at Ogden
Through an explosion and fire that followed, the plant of the Utah Milling Company at 24th street and Lincoln avenue, Ogden, Utah, was badly wrecked February 20 with an estimated loss of $35,000. A large section of the brick wall of the warehouse, at one end of the mill, was blown out by the explosion, nearly the entire east wall of the plant was thrown askew and the milling machinery was practically ruined by either fire, water or the sudden jar on the building. Exactly what caused the explosion is a mystery, Chief Canfield expressing the opinion that it was from carbon disulphide with which fumigation of the plant had been started, while President Peery, of the company, believes it was dust, the bane of all millers, by spontaneous combustion, as many mill fires were caused from dust. The explosion occurred at 4.20 P. M. The alarm was received nearly ten minutes after the explosion and was immediately responded to by the entire department. The fire did not at any time reach the storage house in which flour, bran, ship-stuffs and other finished products are kept, nor the great wheat elevator to the west of the main building. Fumigation of the plant with carbon disulphide is carried on twice a year for the purpose of eliminating cockroaches and other insects. Chief Canfield expressed the belief that a spark of some kind had ignited the fumigating material and caused the explosion, the air pressure being directed against the weakest portion of the building, a twelve-inch brick wall in the warehouse, which immediately fell outward. The fire attacked first those sections in which there was the most flour dust. As the equipment of a flour mill is composed very largely of wood used in machinery casings and elevator shafts, the fire found its chief headway around these and along the elevators to the various floors. The compact nature of installation for such machinery made the fire-fighting most difficult. Opon arrival the firemen found their work difficult because of two conditions, bars having been erected at practically every window of the mill and the fumes from the fumigating material filling the entire structure so that when windows were forced open men could not immediately enter the building for fear of suffocation. Three streams were soon on the fire, which spread rapidly. The flames broke out in one spot and then another, apparently wherever a slight amount of flour dust had accumulated. Chief Canfield caused a sensation when he saved and brought out the cash drawer and a gust of wind sent a number of “greenbacks” flying into the crowd. They were all promptly returned by the men who caught them.