Firemen Battle Roofing Plant Fire
One of the most serious fires the Toronto, Out., Fire Department has had to fight for some time occurred when the tar plant of the Barret Company, located in the east end of the city and in the oil refinery district, was destroyed by fire which started from some unknown cause.
The first alarm was sent in by the superintendent of the plant. This was received at the fire department switchboard at 6:35 p.m. and when the first sections arrived they found the flames shooting up over 150 feet into the air and the whole downtown district of the city covered by a heavy cloud of smoke. The district chief sent in a second alarm which was received at 6:39. This brought five engine companies and a number of emergency wagons.
The fire was fought on the east side of the burning plant. Impelled by a gale from the east, the smoke was driven across the city for about seven miles.
Eight lines of 2 1/2-inch hose were used on the east side. Water pressure in the private mains of the company was approximately 200 pounds. Four lines on the south side were played from the ground. Three heavy streams from the east side were kept on two large tanks and prevented a serious explosion.
Four lines were laid on the west side and used to kill a fire in several box cars on the plant’s siding and to prevent the flames from entering the other plant in which great amounts of roofing and materials were stored. The firefighters were successful in stopping the fire from entering this building.
The apparatus responding on the second alarm had great difficulty in getting through because of the thousands of motorists who drove to the scene. Extra police were called out to keep the crowd under control.
By 8:30 p.m. the fire was controlled. Hardly any flames were visible, but the dense clouds of smoke still issued, and the men kept the three streams playing on the tanks to keep them cool. At 9:15 p.m., the second alarm sections were sent back to their quarters and the fire handled by the companies who arrived on the first alarm. Four lines were used until midnight and two left to cover up until the fire was completely out at 3:36 a.m.
The loss to building and contents was approximately $50,000.