FIVE-ALARM FIRE DESTROYS PHILADELPHIA BUSINESS BLOCK
Inflammable Roofing Spreads Blaze—Lack of Pressure Shows Need of High Pressure System in West Philadelphia—Fires of Week
A FIRE which necessitated five alarms and destroyed practically a whole block in west Philadelphia, Pa., cost the life of one fireman and the injury of several, caused damage to property amounting to $500,000, and threatened to extend much farther, took place in that city on June 2. The fire started in a small shed of frame adjoining the main building on South 30th Street, occupied by Bridgeman & Co., at 5:29 p. m. it spread quickly to the main building, which by the time the firemen arrived was all ablaze. There were 10 chief officers, 29 company officers and 218 men present at the fire. The apparatus present was as follows: Nine American-LaFranee triple combination cars, eleven American-LaaFrance combination chemical and hose cars, five Seagrave combination chemical and hose cars, five Seagrave pumpers, six tractor drawn steam engines, three Commercial Tr. combination chemical and hose cars, one Traylor combination chemical and hose car, two American-LaFrance and four Seagrave aerial ladders, one horse drawn steam engine, one horse drawn chemical and hose wagon, one horse drawn chemical wagon, Fire Boat J. Hampton Moore, Police Boat John E. Revburn equipped with fire pumps making a total of fifty one pieces of apparatus which responded to the fire.
There not being sufficient pressure in the 6 and 12-inch mains, Chief Ross B. Davis ordered some of the pumpers to draft water from the Schuylkill River. Engine Co. No. 5, was the first to arrive, and on coupling up it was found that the hydrant pressure was so low that a stream could not be thrown on the fire.
Other apparatus had the same experience, the pressure ranging from five to 30 pounds, according to Chief Davis. Some of the apparatus then drafted water from the river. A police boat equipped with fire pumps and the fireboat J. Hampton Moore were brought into service and did much in keeping the flames from spreading further. The fire spread through being communicated from one inflammable roof to another of the destroyed buildings by the medium of sparks.
Following the fire Chief Davis made a report to Commissioner of Safety Butler calling attention to the necessity for a high pressure water supply in that section of the city. This necessity was also stressed by Chief Alexander Murdock, of the water bureau.
(For Fire Losses of Week see page 1276)
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