Eight Buildings, Including Hotel, Burned —Many Narrow Escapes—In Business Section of City Burnings of Week

A LOSS of over a million dollars, the destruction of eight buildings, including a hotel, the narrow escape from death of 85 guests, and a general alarm calling out the entire fire department of Council Bluffs, Ia., was the result of disastrous explosion and fire in that city in the early morning hours of December 3. While the origin of the explosion is not certain, it is supposed that the boiler in the Continental Building, in which the fire originated, blew up. This happened shortly before five a, m. and besides blowing out the entire store front, threw the night watchman of the Continental building fifty feet, injuring him severely.

Flaming debris war, carried across the street into the lobby of the Grand Hotel. This structure, which was seven stories in height, took fire immediately, and the guests had great difficulty in escaping the on-rush of the flames. None of them saved any valuables, but all escaped with their lives.

Fortunately there was little wind at the time of the fire, and the burning embers were not carried so far as might have been the case if a high wind had been blowing. As it was the Elks’ Club was badly damaged by a fire started by sparks.

Chief James Cotter, of the Council Bluffs Fire Department, at once sent in a general alarm, bringing all of the city’s apparatus. There were four pumpers at work during the fire. Ten 4 and 6-inch hydrants were used, with four hydrant and 12 engine streams thrown, some 11,000 feet of hose being laid. So hot was the fire that four lengths of hose were burned before they could be removed by the firemen. One deluge set was brought into service. As soon as the fire department arrived, four of the men were sent by Chief Cotter through the hotel to arouse the guests and see that all escaped. These men undoubtedly saved many of the guests from being burned alive. The fire was pronounced under control at 9 o’clock the following morning, after an all-night struggle on the part of the fire department.

Part of the Burned District of Council Bluffs, Shortly After Fire Was Brought Under Control

Auburn, Wash., Elects Fire Chief—F. A. Richardson was again elected chief of the fire department at Auburn, Wash.

Tacoma, Wash., Firemen Want Salary Increase—A petition has been filed for an increase in salary of $30 a month in the pay of the firemen at Tacoma, Wash, it is believed that the council will accede to the request.

Brown’s Point, Wash., Chief Has Novel Plan for Attendance—In order to get all of the members of the volunteer fire department at Brown’s Point, Wash., to attend the meeting, Chief O. V. Brown has adopted a novel plan. He set fire to some brush and then turned in a fire alarm. The meeting was called as soon as the blaze was extinguished: he had a full attendance.

California Considers Pension Fund—Petitions are being circulated for obtaining the initiative measure for a constitutional amendment whereby the insurance companies doing business in the state of California would be taxed two per cent to support a pension fund for firemen throughout the state. This move is sponsored by the California State Firemen’s Association.

Santa Monica Firemen’s Indoor Baseball Team The illustration shows the Santa Monica, Cal., Fire Department’s Indoor Base Ball Team. This team holds the championship of the Pacific Coast. The members of the team are grouped around the Stutz 1,200-gal. triple combination car of the fire department.

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