Fire Razes Abandoned Hotel
Five firemen were injured while fighting a blaze that started from an unknown cause in the once famous Russell Hotel. Ottawa, Can., untenanted and awaiting demolition. The fire broke out early in the evening of April 14 and lasted until the early hours the following day.
Chief Robert Burnett, Deputy Chief Lemieux and District Chief Jack Bradley responded on the first alarm with apparatus from Stations 1, 2, 3, 4, 7. and 8. Within five minutes, Chief Burnett sent in a general call bringing out apparatus from Stations 5, 6, and 9, and men on the off-shift. Despite the work of the fire department, the fire lasted for eleven hours.
The hotel was in operation for the past sixty years and was one of the oldest in the city. It was as dry as tinder and made ready fuel for the fire.
Eighteen streams, including one from an aerial truck, were used. Overhead high tension wires added to the dangers. Power was shut off shortly after the firemen arrived, and the entire section was in darkness.
Very little fire was seen at first. About 12:30 a. m. flames broke out on the third and fourth floors. Several windows were blown out by the force of the explosions. Glass was shattered on those beneath. Chief Burnett and firemen were cut by the jagged fragments. About 2. a. m. flames broke through the roof, and debris started to fall.
Flying sparks were a menace to nearby buildings. It started to rain and snow about that time so that most of the roofs were wet. No patrol for brand fires was necessary.
Even though in the middle of April, a cold northwest wind was blowing. Several firemen had nasty falls on the ice covered streets.
The following apparatus were in service: two AmericanLaFrance 1,000-gallon pumpers, one Seagrave 1,000-gallon pumper, one Waterous 1,000-gallon pumper that was used for reserve, and eight hose wagons. There were 142 men on duty. The all out signal was sent in at 11 a. m., the following morning.