Fire in Shellac Factory in Newark
One man was killed and a property loss estimated at about $50,000 was sustained by a fire which destroyed the factory of the J. B. Gruman Company, manufacturers of ground spices and shellac, at 77 St. Francis street, Newark, N. J., recently. A bit of metal, which dropped between two revolving discs on a shellac grinding machine on the third floor is believed to have been the cause. The building was 60 years old. G. K. Browne, a machinist, fifty-eight years old, was killed by jumping from a third-story window when the flames blocked his way to a fire escape. About thirty men were working in the building when the fire started. The first alarm was at 7.42 A. M. When the first piece of apparatus arrived the third floor was burning from end to end and dense clouds of heavy smoke pouring from the windows. A second alarm was sent in at 7.46, followed by a third at 7.51 and a fourth at 8.06. Sixteen engines, 4 trucks and a water tower were in service. The department was handicapped by the poisonous smoke from the burning shellac. The firemen, working from the ice-coated ladders, succeeded in getting the fire under control about 8.30 o’clock. The walls of the building still stood, but the roof had collapsed and everything contained in the three upper stories was destroyed. The fire lacked spectacular features, the flames being hidden for the most part by clouds of smoke. The intense cold covered the firemen with ice, and from every rung of the fire ladders around the building long icicles hung.