FIRE VOTES FROM AUBURN.

FIRE VOTES FROM AUBURN.

On September 4 Chief E. J. Jewhurst and the fire department of Auburn, N. Y., had to fight the worst blaze they have had to contend with in years. The fire broke out in the twine mills of the International Harvester company. The first signs were smoke issuing from a pile of 10,000 54 lb. bales of binder twine near door No. 3. An alarm was at once turned in, and from early in the afternoon till 4:30 the next morning the whole of the city department, aided by the organised force of the Harvester company from both the upper and the lower plants, were kept hard at work. Practically every man engaged was at one time or another overcome by the smoke. Six hundred thousand dollars’ wortu of finished product baled and piled ready for shipment, reached to the roof. Quite onethird of it was destroyed. The fire spread rapidly throughout the resinous twine, and the smoke drove the firemen out. Chief Jewhurst immediately stationed his men on the north, south and cast sides of the warehouse. The east end of the building was guarded by the International Harvester company’s forces, who poured torrents of water into the building to prevent the fire from crossing into the eastern section of the building. Chief Jewhurst directed the work of all of the men and succeeded in confining the lire to the west end of the big warehouse. Owing to the dense smoke, the firemen could not enter the building for any great length of time, and the fire ate blindly through the great piles of oily twine, while the weight of the bales overhead kept forcing the stuff down upon the heart of the fire. Although thousands of gallons of water were thrown upon the flames the outside bundles caused the water to run off with little effect upon the blaze. The heavy smoke prevent ed the men from boring into the heart of the tire, while the sagging piles of twine threatened to come tumbjing down any minute upon the firemen who bravely ventured within the building. When first discovered, two regulation streams ftom the company’s twine mills adjoining were turned upon the flames, and upon the arrival of the city department every available hydrant and line of hose was put into service. In a few minutes twelve streams were playing upon the warehouse. Assistant Chief Platt was several times overcome by the smoke—so badly at last that he had to be sent home in a carriage. By 7 o’clock the firemen had the fire confined to the west end of the storehouse, and it was only a matter of time before the fire would be extinguished, hire Commissioner Sperry obtained a number of volunteers and sent them in as hosernen; but several times the hose and nozzles got away from them, on one occasion breaking the nose of a regular fireman. Although confined to a small area, the fire was one of the most costly that has ever visted Auburn, the fuel that it consumed being valuable finished product. The building contained about $600,000 worth of finished twine; but the skilful disposition of the firefighting force and the excellent work of the firemen kept the blaze confined to one section, and about one-third was consumed, while water inflicted damage sufficient to make the total damages in the neighborhood of $250,000. One of the most seriously injured was Charles A. Burghduff, a former captain of the city’s fire department, but since working as a machinist in the Harvester company’s employ and a member of its private fire organisation. The heavy pressure of the water service, which had the assistance of the new steam fire engine, caused many of the heads on the automatic sprinklers throughout tl.e lower shops to blow off, and men were kept busy stopping the leaks which occurred every few minutes. The work of the firemen cannot he overestimated, and that of the company’s private brigade also calls for the highest praise. By their united skill, their pluck and their indomitable energy and staying power, they had the file under control by midnight, and averted a greater loss by keeping the fire from reaching several tanks of mineral oil, which w’ould otherwise have caught and caused an explosion.

Chief E. J. Jewhurst, Auburn, N. Y.

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