Fire and Explosions at Oklahoma City
At Oklahoma City, Okla., the building and store of the J. W. Jenkins Sons Music Company, in West Main street, was almost destroyed by fire one Sunday recently and adjoining buildings were damaged by water. The Jenkins building had brick walls with wood interior, was three stories high, with a frontage of 25 feet and a depth of 140 feet. The fire was caused by spontaneous explosion of coal in the basement, and when the department reached the fire in response to the alarm at 5:15 A. M., it was burning fiercely in the basement. By the excellent work of Chief Brooks and his men, the fire was confined to the building, with an estimated total loss of $60,000. The fire burned for five hours. The loss included 125 pianos and other musical instruments. Several gas explosions on the first floor wrecked that floor and demolished the fire doors of the elevator shaft, allowing the fire to escape up the shaft to the top floor, the elevator then being at the bottom of the shaft. When the explosion took place, Chief R. M. Brooks sent in a second alarm, which called two additional hose and a ladder company. The building also had chemical extinguishers on each floor. Firemen attacked the front and rear. Without warning the entire front of the first floor was blown outward. Firemen saw the forms of two men amid the flying debris. A fan was found lying in the street pinned down by a piano and a policeman was lying half unconscious and bleeding from wounds on face and head. They were peering into the window when the explosion occurred and were rescued by firemen. A few minutes later two more explosions took place in the rear of the building. Chief Brooks, Assistant Chief Meyers and a dozen firemen attacked the rear door. As Meyers attempted to break down the door, a terrific explosion swepl back all in its path. A billow of flame rolled across the alley carrying firemen with it. The rear wall of the building bulged under the pressure. Every building in the block was shaken. Assistant Chief A. G. Meyers and seven other firemen were injured and burned, but none severely. Chief Brooks and other firemen were also blown back but not injured. After the explosion the flame roared up the elevator shaft to the third floor and spread through the stock of pianos on that floor. The first floor dropped into the basement. The stock on the second floor was not burned, but was damaged by water and smoke. The roof fell to the second floor, which held. Smoke and tons of water were poured into the Scott building and into the basement of the Frederickson-Kroh building adjoining. A great volume of burning gas formed a torch. No one could locate the shutoff valve for three hours. Three steam fire engines, a triple combination motor pumping engine and a motor hose-chemical wagon, all made by the American-La France Company, a Knox and a Seagrave hose-chemical wagon, a Seagrave aerial and an American-La France motor city truck were in service and had seven 1 ⅛ to 1 1/2-inch streams on the burning and adjoining buildings through 4,000 feet of hose, one length of which burst. Two cellar pipes were also used. There was an abundance of water from a direct pumping system of 80 pounds pressure, with 9 hydrants of 2, 3 and 5 outlets 300 feet apart on 10and 20-inch mains. Five of the hydrants were on highoressure mains.