Fire Fighting at 26 Degrees Below Zero

Fire Fighting at 26 Degrees Below Zero

Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Department Handles Fire Under Very Severe Weather Conditions—The Map of Augusta s Large Fire—Record of Fire Losses of the Past Week

Chief James Smart, Calgary, Can.

Fighting fire at 26 below zero is no picnic. This the members of the Calgary fire department realized when the Woolworth 5 and 10 cent store and Royal Bank building caught fire on November 19 at 6:40 a. m. The alarm was received at that hour and on arriving at the scene Chief James Smart found the basement of the building, which was 150 x 130 feet, two stories in height, constructed of stone, a mass of flames, it being filled with toys and Christmas goods of an extremely inflammable nature. The building was situated at Eighth Avenue and Center Street in the business section of the city and had been built twenty years, the outer walls being of stone and there being frame partitions throughout. The cause of the fire was supposed to be spontaneous combustion among the goods stored in the basement. The number of firemen employed at the fire was eighty-six and the apparatus consisted of one motor pumper, five hose cars, one salvage car, one 85-foot aerial truck equipped with water tower nozzle and one city service truck. Six 2and 4-way hydrants were available, spaced from 250 to 500 feet apart, with a pressure of 90 pounds at the hydrants. Eleven hydrant and two engine streams were thrown with nozzles of 1 1/8 inches in diameter and supplied by mains of 10 and 12 inches. In all there were laid 8,300 feet of rubberlined standard fire hose, an Eastman ladder nozzle also being brought into service with good results. The men were equipped with American-LaFrance smoke masks. The water system, which was both gravity and direct, supplied good pressure for the plug streams. The street car traffic in the section of the city where the fire occurred was held up for several hours. Realizing the suffering that the firemen would undergo owing to the intense cold several public-spirited citizens supplied hot coffee, etc., to the men. Several members of the department suffered from frost bite. The illustration herewith, furnished by Chief Smart, shows graphically the destruction wrought by the fire and the conditions under which the men worked, the picture being taken from the front and the rear of the buildings involved. The value of the buildings was $300,000, with a loss of about $60,000; the value of the contents, toys, Christmas goods and office fixtures, was $150,000, with a loss of about $90,000. The Woolworth building was entirely gutted.

Fire in Woolworth Stores, Calgary, Alberta. Left-Fighting Fire from Front.Right—Rear View, Showing Intense Weather conditions

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Calgary Firemen Fight Fire at 26 Below

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