Fighting Fire Under Difficulties
Plenty of water, but mains too small to furnish adequate pressure, and hose nozzles too small to throw effective streams, is an aggravated condition for firemen to confront when flames threaten to reduce a town. Chief F. H. Grabner, of Baker, Ore., was placed in a predicament like this when fire broke out in the White Pine planing mills a few days ago. It was a few minutes before 6 o’clock in the evening when the engineer in the plant discovered the lire, which is thought to have been started by a spark from the furnace. He at once telephoned an alarm, which was responded to by Chief Grabner with one Webb motor combination chemical and hose wagon, an American-La France horse-drawn combination chemical and hose wagon and three hand reels. The gravity water system furnished ample supply, but the 4 and 6-inch mains were too small to afford enough pressure, although most of the time it was 60 pounds. However, Chief Grabner laid over 3,000 feet of cotton rubberlined hose, and with six hydrants, four of which were double, he manipulated seven hydrant streams through 3/4 and 1 1/4-inch nozzles for nearly 12 hours before he felt safe in withdrawing his men. He saw at thq outset that it was impossible to save the mill, and so directed his men to save tile surrounding property. That the flames were confined to the mill, the kiln and the office, was considered a good piece of work, considering the many handicaps with which the firemen had to contend. The department has but four full-paid men and 20 call men. The loss will aggregate fully $80,000. The city some time ago sold all its horses, and it was necessary for the chief to return to the station several times to haul up other apparatus with his motors.