GASOLINE EXPLOSION CAUSES LOSS OF TWO AUTO ESTABLISHMENTS
A Spring Company and a Service Company in Pittsburgh Lose Plants in Resulting Fire Three Alarms Sounded
FIRE marked by two explosions, evidently gasoline, in the plant of the Pittsburgh Auto Spring Company, located at 5915-5919 Center Avenue, in the least Liberty automobile and business section, of Pittsburgh Pa., late at night recently, completely destroyed the structure and spread to the building occupied by the R. E. Loughrey Reo Service Company at 5905-5913 Center Avenue, also a one story brick structure and for a time threatened to spread through the entire block.
When firemen arrived, called on the first alarm the flames bad already spread, through the structure, had extended to the Reo Service Company’s plant and were threatening nearby buildings, the intense beat from the flames which were shooting above the roofs of the burning buildings and rolling half way across Center Avenue, igniting and burning telephone poles and light wires, the wires falling into the street.
A high wind which fanned the flames, and the bitter cold, the temperature being close to the zero mark, made the work of the firemen difficult, the water from the streams freezing as it fell, but the firemen under the direction of Chief Richard Lee Smith and his officers, brought the blaze under control, after an hour’s hard fight and prevented any further spread of the flames through the block.
Hot coffee was served the firemen by the Sisters of Charity from the Sacred Heart Parish.
Three alarms were sent in for the fire from Station 6112, located at Center and South Highland Avenues, which is two long blocks from the scene of the fire, calling into service eight engine companies, one hose company and two truck companies.
Station 613 at Center Avenue and Beatty Street, almost directly across the street from the burning buildings was also pulled for the fire but was not sent out to the fire stations by the fire alarm operator, it being a vicinity firebox.
Station 6112 being pulled first and responded to by the various first alarm companies, resulted in some of these companies going out of their way and being more or less delayed in answering the alarm and reaching the scene of the fire. The fire was discovered by a pedestrian passing the building shortly after eleven o’clock who turned in the first alarm from Station 6112
The first alarm at 11:05 p. m. was answered by Engine Companies No. 8, 16 and 28 and Truck Company No. 8 in command of Fourth Battalion Chief, John H. Frazier. Immediately upon his arrival, Chief Frazier seeing that a serious looking fire was it: progress and making rapid headway, sent his aide to send in the second alarm at 11:12 p. m. which was answered by Engine Companies No. 14, 6 and 38 and Truck Company No. 14 and Chief Smith.
The third alarm at 11 :25 p. m. was answered by Engine Companies No. 34 and 24 and Hose Company No. 36 in command of Acting Third Battalion Chief Edward J. Carter. A force of seventy-two uniformed firemen were on duty at the fire.
Thirteen pumper streams and two engine streams with shut-off nozzles and 1-inch and 11/4-inch tips were used in extinguishing the fire, with 8350 feet of two and one-half inch hose, all cotton rubber lined and 292 feet of ladders. The longest line of hose used at the fire was 1150 feet from No. 24 pumper. Two sections of hose burst during the progress of the fire.
A sufficient number of four and one-half inch single and double opening Ludlow fire hydrants connected to four, six and twenty-inch water mains gave the firemen a good supply of water with which to fight the fire.
Twelve pieces of fire apparatus of the following makes and types, all motor driven and tractor drawn, were in service at the fire. Six American-LaFrance 750-gal. triple combination pumpers; One 700-gal. Metropolitan steam fire engine drawn by an American-LaFrance tractor; Three American-LaFrance combination hose and chemical cars; One 75-ft. American-LaFrance aerial truck and one 75-ft. Seagrave aerial truck, drawn by an American-LaFrance tractor.
The burned buildings fronted on Center Avenue, a distance of 150 feet, extended back to Commerce Way, a distance of 130 feet and were of brick and tile construction, with no basements, the first or ground floor being of concrete and the roof of gravel with wooden joists, supported on heavy wooden columns.
The duration of the fire was seven hours and fifteen minutes, being struck out at 6:15 a. in.
The loss to buildings and contents will be approximately $100,000.
Danville, Ky., to Purchase Ladder Truck—Danville, Ky., will purchase a ladder truck.