Gas and Oil Tanks Threaten New Orleans Firemen

Gas and Oil Tanks Threaten New Orleans Firemen

The firemen of New Orleans were badly handicapped at a night fire in the plant of the Barrett Manufacturing Company. The two-story building that was ablaze lay between four gas tanks, two of Pintsch gas, a by-product of which is benzol. Of the latter there were also two tanks. In the Pintsch gas tanks were nearly 1,000,000 gallons; in those containing benzol were 40,000 gallons of the stuff. The fire, which was in the benzol plant, was discovered at about 10.30 a. m. and caused six explosions. What caused it is unknown. The oil had been burning for some time before the first of these explosions took place, but the employes had time to escape. Two hours after the firemen had begun operations, a large pool of oil caught fire and the flames rose to a considerable height. Seven firemen had a narrow escape for their lives. The great difficulty lay on the side of those working on the blaze. If they flooded the plant with water—and water, in its turn, flowed into the basement—it would enter sunken tanks, each containing 20,009 gallons of highly explosive oil. If this oil rose to the surface of the water, it would connect with the fire on the floor above, and the consequent explosions would serve to spread the flames and make them still fiercer. The firemen managed very judiciously. They confined the blaze to the two-story plant, and although it was not got under control till midnight the total loss did not exceed $5,000.

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