Firemen Prevent Explosion in Half Million Dollar Fire
Six hundred barrels of whiskey was part of the freight saved by firemen and employees from a fire which practically demolished a freight house of the New York Central and the Big Four Railroad Companies in Cleveland, O., on July 22, causing a financial loss approaching half a million dollars. During its course two city firemen were injured and the safety of buildings within a radius of several acres was threatened. The whiskey, the firemen said, would have caused a serious explosion, possibly with consequent loss of life and further destruction of property, had the flames reached it. The fire, which was attributed to defective wiring in the ceiling of the edifice, started in the record room, and was spreading rapidly through the building when discovered by a clerk. Employees tried unsuccessfully to overcome the flames with water buckets. Chief George A. Wallace and men responded to the alarm and promptly turned in a second alarm. Later a final 3-3 alarm was sounded and all the city’s fire apparatus was called to the scene. A broken valve stem was discovered in one of the four hydrants available for service, and the work of the firemen was further hindered by the fact tliat all four hydrants were bunched on the south side of the building causing congestion of the operators. Six firemen were trapped in the building and it was only due to the bravery displayed by the members of other companies that their escape was affected. All were uninjured save two, members of an engine company, one of whom was seriously overcome by smoke, and the other severely bruised by a rolling barrel. When the work of the firemen was completed only the four walls of the 90foot by 880-foot building were standing. The fire which started about 11 a. m., resisted the efforts of the firemen for several hours it being late afternoon when the blaze was considered conquered.