FIREMEN LESSEN SUFFERING CAUSED BY VERMONT FLOODS
Both Maxim Motor Company and Gamewell Company Rush Men to Place Fire Defense System of Barre, Vt., Back to Operating Condition
IMMEDIATELY upon receipt from Barre, Vermont, of news of the extensive damage caused by the floods, the Gamewell Company of Newton Upper Falls, Mass., and the Maxim Motor Company, of Middleboro, Mass., sent mechanics to the scene to repair the fire alarm system and fire apparatus.
The hook and ladder truck remained in the fire station completely submerged during the height of the flood. The motor pumper and combination wagon were both out on calls when the water swept through the streets of the town.
According to an item in the Barre “Times” the combination motor wagon was just making the turn from Main Street into School Street on the afternoon of November 3 on its way to a fire when a crest of water four feet high overflowing from the North Branch overwhelmed the apparatus and stopped the engine. The firemen stuck to the apparatus until washed from their posts when they swam to higher ground. The apparatus became entirely submerged in the raging flood and the current was so strong that the machine was moved some distance and lodged against a pole. This left only one usable piece of apparatus in the town, but fortunately no serious fires occurred.
The Maxim pumper rendered yeoman service in pumping out flooded cellars. It was stationed outdoors on high ground during the flood period.
The men from the Maxim factory overhauled the fire equipment and soon had the combination wagon and ladder truck in service again. The Gamewell linemen and fire alarm experts went over the entire alarm system and by November 14 the fire alarm and fire department of Barre were functioning as before the flood had swept down the valley leaving death and destruction to mark its path.
In White River Junction, Vt., the central fire station was flooded and part of the wall undermined a few minutes after the apparatus had been removed to a place of safety. The fire alarm was used to arouse the town just before midnight when the White River and Connecticut River overflowed their banks. Houses in the Nutt Lane section of the town were submerged up to second story windows. The firemen and policemen made many heroic rescues by use of row-boats and life lines.
After the floods had subsided several fires broke out and for a time threatened to sweep over a wide area in four different towns that had suffered water damage. In Becket, Mass., a town which was innundated and partly wrecked by the breaking of a reservoir, fire destroyed the warehouse of the A. B. Collingbourne Silk Mill, Inc. with a loss estimated at $50,000. Chief William C. Shepard, of Pittsfield, sent apparatus and extra hose to aid the Becket firemen in checking the blaze.
In Ludlow, Vt., fire broke out in a bakery in a 3-story frame building near the river and a high wind carried embers for blocks. Fortunately a coating of snow on the roofs prevented incipient blazes. The town’s waiter supply was out of commission, but alter a two hour fight the firemen extinguished the fire by pumping water from the river. Apparatus was sent over the road from St. Albans, Vt., to Cambridge, Vt., when a serious fire started in the latter place.
In Springfield, Mass., fire occurred in two houses that had been left vacant. Hydrants were completely submerged and the fire fighters battled the flames with hand extinguishers taken to the scene in row-boats.
Fire department organizations throughout New England were among the first of the various agencies to send money, clothing, and food supplies to the sufferers in the flooded districts of Vermont and western Massachusetts.
Chief John W. O’Hearn, of Watertown, Mass., announced a gift of $150 to the flood relief fund by the Watertown Firemen’s Relief Association and other cities and towns quickly followed the lead.
Lexington, Mass., Firemen Must Serve as Policemen— Members of the Lexington, Mass., department are required to serve as traffic policemen during the hours when children go to and from school.
Steubenville, O., to Add Another Company—Another company will be installed in Steubenville, O., on January 1 making four companies in service. A new triple combination truck will be purchased later. Six men are to be appointed and four lieutenants are to be promoted from the ranks. Edward J. Green is chief of the department, and besides the chief the service consists of thirty-four men.