Fire Destroys Lumber Yards, Mill and Factory
The diagram shown on this page, which was kindly furnished by Chief J. T. King of the fire department of Puyallup, Wash., gives a very clear idea of the extent of the fire which visited that city recently and destroyed the Brew Manufacturing Company’s saw mill, lumber yards and box factory. The yards occupied four entire blocks and the mill, one block, the office being two stories in height and the mill, one story. All of them were constructed of wood. While it has not positively been decided as to the cause of the fire, there had been trouble with the private lighting system when the night crew left at 1:30 A. M. Shortly after this time the watchman closed the door of the mill and started across the street, when he happened to look back and saw the entire structure on fire, He immediately telephoned an alarm at 1:40 A. M., and when the department arrived the blaze had crossed the street from the mill and had attacked the office and yards. The men of the department tried to make connections with the hydrants, but were driven back by the intense heat. While there were five hydrants in the vicinity, two of these were shut off by the fire and the department was able to use only three 6-inch double hydrants, with a pressure of sixty pounds. The department, numbering twenty men, had one White combination hose and chemical car. Realizing the condition of affairs, Chief King, as soon as he arrived on the ground, immediately called assistance from Sumner, three miles away, and Tacoma, a distance of nine miles.
The former sent one combination chemical and hose apparatus and the latter arrived soon after with one AmericanLaFranee 1,000-gallon triple combination. There were six hydrants streams and two engine streams thrown with nozzles of one inch, four of these being from eight-inch and three from six-inch mains. The amount of hose laid was 4,400 feet. One length of this burst during the fire and was taken care of with a Cooper jacket without shutting off the water. Of this hose, 500 feet was rubber and 3,900 was cotton rubber-lined. While the pumper had plenty of water from the gravity system, the pressure at the nozzles was not as good as it might have been, owing to the necessity of laying such long lines of hose. During the height of the fire it was necessary to screen the nozzle men by doors and panels on account of the intense heat. As will be seen by the diagram, the shingle and veneer plant, was saved as was also one corner of the lumber yard. Several of the residences were also saved. The loss was estimated at about $300,000, there being fully one million feet of lumber destroyed, this including all classes and grades, besides boxes and completed beehives. In referring to this fire and the department’s work in handling it, Chief King says: “Our department is made up of paid-per-call
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volunteer men with one regular paid man as driver, with one combination hose and chemical and 2,300 feet of hose, so you can see what we were up against with the entire mill and planing rooms on fire before the watchman phoned in the alarm from the office and with, also, a very strong wind blowing from the southwest, carrying embers for two miles. During its height it looked as if nothing could stop that fire until it reached the river on the north side of the city, four blocks beyond the present fire line, which is a residential district, built in close. I had recognized the fact that we were playing with Fate as, while our loss from fire had been less than one dollar per capita for the past five years, yet we were not as well equipped as a town of six thousand should be. However, in the near future we will add a triple combination with 12,000 or 15,000 feet of hose.”