Good Judgment Saves Canfield Pierce Store at Grand Rapids

Good Judgment Saves Canfield Pierce Store at Grand Rapids

Fire of an unknown origin originating in the center of the basement of the paint, oil and wall-paper store of Canfield Pierce, in the business section of Grand Rapids, Mich., was discovered by a passing citizen recently. He pulled the street box at 6:18 p. m. When Chief George Boughner, with a department force of 60 men, arrived, he saw that, owing to the dense smoke issuing from the basement and first floor, it was impossible to attack the fire from the inside. He ordered lines stretched from the front and the side of the building, and used cellar pipes to fight the fire. This, with a lucky direction of the wind, no doubt saved the building, as it drove the dense smoke out of the basement and first floor, and allowed the firemen to enter. Some had already done so, by the aid of smoke helmets. The department after this made short work of the blaze, and confined it to the basement and first floor. The former was lined from the floor to ceiling with wooden shelves on which were stored large stocks of wall paper, paints and oils, and this stuff on fire was what caused the dense smoke which so hampered the firemen. The supports of the first floor burned away and it fell, but was not consumed. The fire was pretty generally confined to the basement, but in places broke through and damaged the first floor. There were six three-way hydrants available, spaced 300 feet apart, with mains ranging from 6 to 20 inches, on three streets. Another factor in the successful handling of this fire was the high pressure system, which Grand Rapids very wisely has installed, the pressures ranging from 65 to 100 pounds. Three high pressure and three low pressure streams were thrown, as were also nine engine streams. There were five hose wagons, three steam engines, one chemical engine, and squad wagon, the engine makes being a Nott, a Metropolitan and an American. There were 4,300 feet of hose laid. The fire burned three and one-half hours. The building, which is four stories and basement, is valued at $100,000, and the loss was estimated at only $5,000. The contents, valued at $200,000, were damaged to the extent of $26,000.

Chief George Boughner, Grand Rapids.

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