Factories Closed by Court Order in Fire Prevention Campaign in New York
Fire Commissioner Robert Adamson, of New York City, last week obtained from Justice Platzek, of the Supreme Court, an order directing that two buildings, one at 273 Canal street, and the other at 49-51 Elizabeth street, be closed until fire prevention regulations be complied with. This was the opening move by the Commissioner in a campaign to remedy fire dangers in more than 250 factory buildings in the city. Inspectors from the Bureau of Fire Prevention, accompanied by policemen and firemen, ordered occupants to vacate the premises. In both cases it was alleged the buildings had failed to comply with orders from the fire department. It was asserted that between May and December twelve orders had been served on the owners of the Canal street building and that five orders had been issued in the last three and a half years relative to the Elizabeth street building. According to the last inspection of the Canal street building it was reported to the Fire Commissioner that some eighty tons of cotton rags were stored on the upper floors. In case of fire this cotton would absorb large quantities of water, adding to the weight on the floors and the danger to the employees on each floor would be increased by the added weight on the floor above and in case of fire the work of the firemen would be impeded by it. The commissioner said that more than one hundred men and womfen were employed in the Elizabeth street building and quantities of nitric, sulphuric and muriatic acid stored on the upper floors add to the danger of the employees of the building in case of fire, it was asserted. In an affidavit the Commissioner quoted John Langford, who had declared that in his opinion if fire occurred in the Elizabeth street building not more than twenty of the employees woulud be able to make their escape in safety.