First Large Fire for Years in Oswego
The first fire of any consequence in several years in Oswego, N. Y., was that which not long ago destroyed the car barns and repair shops of the Empire State Railways. It started at 1.30 A. M. from the explosion of a gasoline torch used by a night repairman in an attempt to thaw some frozen water pipes, and the gasoline flying in every direction set fire to a number of points, highly varnished cars and greasy pits, rapidly igniting, while the repairman was busy extinguishing his blazing clothing. The fire alarm system was out of order, owing to the extreme cold that prevailed for some days, and the telephone alarm sent in was so delayed that when the fire department, under Chief Jos. F. Hennessy, arrived, it was too late to do anything, although they tried their best. With the mercury at 20 degrees below zero, the water froze as it fell from the streams, and the men were incased in ice, several being badly frostbitten. There were sixteen engaged. The building was of wood, one story high and 75×125 feet in area. It was built in 1895, and was located in the outskirts of the city on a street fifty feet wide. It was impossible to use pumpers or engines in that part of the city, the chief reports, owing to the depth of the snow, and only hydrant streams could be thrown. Three single hydrants were available with 80 pounds pressure from a 6-inch main. The nozzles used were 1 and l 1/8-inch, and 1,800 feet of hose were laid. The fire was prevented from spreading, but the barns were wiped out in about forty-five minutes from the time the fire started. In addition to the men frostbitten, one was slightly burned. The total loss on equipment and property was estimated at $150,000.