Fire in a Williamsburg Sulphur Factory.
Specially written for FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING.
On Saturday morning, February 29, as was briefly told in FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING of March 4, a destructive and highly troublesome fire, which caused a loss of between $2,000,000 and $2,200,000. broke out in the works of the National Sulphur company, whose factory fronts on Kent avenue, its rear being on the Wallabout creek and occupying a space of 100 sq. ft. It followed an explosion in the engineroom on the top floor, which wrecked the building and ruined much of the valuable machinery, the fire completing the ruin. The origin of the explosion was probably friction. There were three grinders at work in the room and nine altogether. All were very severely injured and three will probably die. The three grinders, covered with burning sulphur, crawled downstairs on their hands and knees and were rescued by their, fellow workmen. The corrugated iron roof of the grinding room was carried in the air for quite a distance and fell on the driver of a wagon in the street, fracturing his skull so severely as to render his recovery doubtful. Three alarms were turned in, and a fourth call brought the fireboats David A. Boody and Seth Low. Engine companies 111 and 121 and hook and ladder company No. 69 were the first of the land forces to respond. The firemen had to work in relays, and even then many were overcome by the dense fumes of sulphur and the intense heat. As the whole building was afire from end to end, further assistance was called in. In the Wallabout creek were many coal barges and other craft, as well as elevators, and before the fireboats could operate the shipping had to be cleared out. As it was, the two floating engines had to work in a very confined space. By their aid the coalyards on the opposite side were saved, except for $50,000 worth of damage done to that of William F. Mathias. The crews of the fireboats suffered badly from the scorching heat and the fumes of the sulphur, from neither of which, owing to the confined space in which they worked, they could escape. It was some hours before the fire was controled.