Fire Destroys Part of Roebling Plant in Trenton
One of the largest fires in the history of Trenton, N. J., took place at 7 P. M., Monday, January 18, when the Insulated Wire Department at the plant of the John A. Roebling Son’s Company, covering eight acres and fifteen dwelling houses at Jersey, Hancock, Tremont streets and Woolverton avenue were destroyed with a loss estimated at about $1,500,000. For the first time the paid fire department called on other places for assistance, but when assistance arrived the fire was under control and it was not used at the fire. The destroyed buildings of the plant were erected some 13 years ago, one of them being five stories in height. The buildings were lined throughout with clinched tin, and had selfclosing doors, stand pipes, chemical equipments, hose reels, etc., and were supposed to be fire proof and perfectly equipped. They were inspected by state authorities a month before the fire. There were 300 employees of the night shift at work in the plant at the time and 1,000 were thrown out of employment. The fire originated from an unknown cause in the shipping department and fanned by a strong breeze spread rapidly. Chief J. W. Bennett at once called the entire department into service and as soon as it was seen that the fire in the one portion of the plant was beyond control the efforts of the department were directed to saving the other sections of the extensive Roebling works, which were entirely successful. Fifteen dwelling houses adjoining the destroyed portion of the works were also destroyed and many others injured. Nothing of the destroyed buildings of the plant or their contents was saved. Many people were rendered homeless. When the fire was found to be beyond control assistance was asked of Camden and Princeton. Chief J. A. Stockton of Camden sent two engines and 22 men, but on their arrival the fire was under control and they were not in service. Chief M. A. O’Brien, of Princeton, sent a motor pumping engine, which was detailed for covering service in the central fire station where it was from 11 P. M. until 5 A. M., when it returned home. Chief James W. Bennett suffered a sprained ankle and a bruised knee and was taken to a hospital. A line of hose, which employees had dropped when an explosion occurred, twisted about and struck the chief causing the accident. This was the fifth large fire in the Roebling plant; the others were the cable shop in 1890, the braiding works in 1892, the rope shop in 1908 and the Mott street branch in 1911.