G. I. Dormitory at University Burns
One frame dormitory was destroyed and three others threatened by fire which did damage in the amount of $100,000 to the Fort Trumbull, Conn., branch of the University of Connecticut on January 24. More than 250 students were routed from their rooms by the fire which was fought in a swirling snowstorm and near zero temperature.
The Typhoon building, housing 125 students, was destroyed and another dormitory, known as Red Jacket, was left uninhabitable because of severe water damage. Firemen from the New London Fire Department, under command of Chief Thomas H. Shipman, with additional aid from Waterford, fought the blaze for two hours.
A white-painted blockhouse, erected in 1775 at the historic Fort Trumbull, was less than 100 feet away from the burning Typhoon building. The padlock was broken to gain entrance and five truckloads of explosives, which included small arms ammunition, powder and signal flares, were carted away to the nearby city shop property in Walbach Street. As soon as the danger passed, the explosives were retured to the blockhouse.
The fire was discovered by two students who attempted to put it out with hand extinguishers, but the fire kept gaining headway and a still alarm was sent to New London Fire Headquarters at 2:08 P.M. A call was also sent to the university’s firehouse and to the nearby Navy Underwater Sound Laboratory Fire Department.
When Chief Shipman arrived with Niagara Engine Company, Ocktord Hose Company, and the F. L. Allen Hook Ladder Company, he ordered a box alarm sounded from Box 82, located at the gate of the university. This alarm brought out the Pequot Hose Company and the Konomoc aerial truck.
Later Chief Shipman radioed to Fire Headquarters for more assistance and the Thomas Hose Company and Northwest Hose Company were dispatched. At 2:37 P.M. Chief Shipman, with his entire Department fighting the fire, again radioed for aid and the nearby town of Waterford sent the Oswegatchie and Goshen Companies to the scene.
It was the city’s third general alarm fire in a month and firemen fought the fire under the threat of a blizzard hitting the city and suffered greatly from intense cold, snow and smoke.
Photo Courtesy “New London Day”
Photo by William C. Peck