Explosion in Tar Tanks Spreads Asphalt Works Fire

Explosion in Tar Tanks Spreads Asphalt Works Fire

Barber Asphalt Paving Company’s Plant Destroyed at Maurer, N. J.—Blazing Tar Thrown Over Works—

Million Dollar New Orleans Blaze—Fires of Week

The illustration on the cover of this week’s issue of FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING is a graphic presentation of a recent fire which caused the Perth Amboy fire department to call for assistance from Woodbridge, Rahway, Elizabeth and Fords and the New York department, and which practically destroyed the six-acre plant of the Barber Asphalt Paving Company at Maurer, N. J. The fire started shortly after midnight and it was well on in the afternoon of the following day before the blaze in the Barber plant had virtually burned out. The fire boats, William J. Gaynor of the New York department, and Socony of the Standard Oil Company kept their streams playing on the piers of the asphalt company, thus preventing these and the railroad cars upon them catching fire. Adjoining the asphalt plant on the north was that of the Henry Maurer & Sons brick work. The stable of this concern caught fire and was burned, but the firemen saved the other buildings. The other plants in danger that were near the asphalt company were the American Smelting and Refining Company, which was just south of the Barber concern, and the works of the United Lead Company. These, however, were saved by the departments. At the early stages of the fire the employees of the Barber works labored to salvage some of the valuable stocks, and donkey engines were employed in pulling long trains of heavily ladened cars out of the danger zone until the smoke and heat became unbearable. This work was ended by the explosion of one after another of the nine huge tar tanks, which hurled great masses of flaming tar hundreds of feet into the plant of the Barber Company and the yards of the other factories. The smoke became so dense that the fire departments resorted to the use of searchlights to penetrate the heavy murk. The central part of New Jersey and Staten Island were covered with clouds of black smoke for some hours. For a time it looked as if the extensive tenement district near the Barber plant would go and the Perth Amboy police warned the dwellers in these structures to remove as much of their belongings as possible. All sorts of vehicles were commandeered for this purpose and many of the employees of the Barber plant and others removed their household goods to places of safety. The only building in the Barber plant to escape injury was an office structure, all of the rest of the buildings being destroyed. In one of them, a roofing plant, there were between 6,000 and 7,000 tons of felt to be made into roofing, all of which was destroyed. There were about 2,000 men employed in the establishment. One fireman, a member of the Perth Amboy department, fell from a ladder and was badly bruised. He was taken to the Perth Amboy hospital. The loss was estimated over $2,000,000.

Million Dollar Warehouse Fire in New Orleans

A warehouse fire entailing a loss of over one million dollars occurred recently in New Orleans, La., when the building of the Appalachian Corporation of Louisiana caught fire on the second floor of unknown cause at 8.05 P. M. The building occupied a square block and was three stories in height and constructed of brick. The building, which was in the center of the commercial district, had been built about twenty-six years. Owing to the delay in the reception of the alarm at fire headquarters, the fire had gained great headway when the department arrived and was burning briskly. In spite of this fact, one section of the building was saved when the fire was gotten under control. There were 116 members of the department on hand and the apparatus consisted of three American-LaFrance and six White motors, three American-LaFrance, two Ahrens and two Amoskeag steam engines. There were three 5-inch 3-way and six 4-inch 2-way hydrants available, about 350 feet apart, with a pressure between sixty and sixty-five pounds. Twenty-five streams, sixteen of which were engine, were thrown, the nozzle sizes being 1 1/4 and 1 1/2 inches, one 12-inch main and others of 6-inch being in use. Six thousand feet of cotton rubber-lined hose were laid. The pressure, direct pumping, was good. The loss on the building was $200,000 and that on the contents, consisting of 30,000 bales of sisal grass, was $817,000.

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