Exposure Protection Is Major Goal As Fire Possesses Vacant Factory
1st Assistant Chief Hudson, N.Y., Department of Fire
Protection of exposures became a prime concern as a multiple-alarm fire destroyed a block-long, three-story vacant factory building in Hudson, N.Y.
The fire in the building once used for candy manufacturing by Candy Lane was fought by more than 150 fire fighters from seven departments with 21 pieces of apparatus. The factory, owned by the City of Hudson as part of an urban renewal project, contained a large amount of paper products, which added considerably to the fuel load. Smoke from the blaze, which continued for five hours, was reported seen 30 miles away.
Three boys, 5, 8 and 9 years old, were later reported to have started the fire while playing with matches.
Box 125 was transmitted at 4:13 p.m. last Oct. 27 for the factory at Second and Columbia Sts. Second Assistant Chief Chuck Hoffman, who was first on the scene, reported a working structural fire to Columbia County Fire Control and he ordered Engine 30 to set up operations in the rear of the factory, where the fire was concentrated. Engine 31 tagged a hydrant in front of the factory and Engine 64 took a position in the rear with Engine 30.
When I arrived, the fire had spread throughout the first floor, so I requested a second alarm, which was transmitted at 4:14 p.m. Truck Company 32 was setting up water tower operations in front of the mill and had to relocate to the Bliss Towers parking lot because of the intense heat and fear that the factory’s 125-foot tower might collapse. Engine 31 also was relocated to Warren and Second Sts.
Engine 27 was positioned at Second and Warren Sts. in an effort to surround the fire, and a third alarm, transmittted at 4:18 p.m., brought in Greenport Engines 25, 241 and 242—the latter a 4-inch hose reel truck.
Chief Charles Miller arrived and set up a command post with County Coordinator James Briscoe and his deputies, Clyde Shook and Bob Novak.
Mutual aid called
Response to a mutual aid request at 4:30 p.m. included two engines from Becraft Company 2, Catskill Truck 32 and Engine 32, and Stottville Ladder 505 and Engines 501 and 502.
Because of the rapidly spreading fire, staff officers were concerned mainly about the dangerously close exposures on both Second and Warren Sts. Stottville Ladder 505 was ordered to wet down buildings on the Second St. side of the factory.
As the Stottville aerial arrived, the west wall of the factory collapsed and fire fighters had to duck behind apparatus to escape the intense heat. Ladder 505 sustained slight damage as the heat blistered its paint and melted emergency light lenses.
Fire fighters were placed on the rooftops on Warren St. south of the fire. Catskill Ladder 32 and Engine 32 were used for this exposure protection.
Embers start fires
Reports were received at the command post of secondary fires started by burning embers. Catskill Hose 1, under the direction of Assistant Chief Richard Overbaugh, was assigned to extinguish these roof fires. Due to the number of such fires, an additional engine from Claverack assisted.
After all exposures were covered, fire fighters concentrated on extinguishing the fire, whose flames rose skyward after eating through the three oil-soaked floors of t he old factory.
While the truck companies were battling a solid wall of flames, a relay was started from the river by Linlithgo Engine 631 and Greenport 262 with 4-inch hose. These lines were used to feed master stream appliances at the scene.
Hudson fire fighters remained at the scene throughout the night wetting down hot spots.
No serious injuries were reported, but some fire fighters were treated by the Greenport Rescue Squad for smoke inhalation.