Good Work Saves Boston Paper Box Factory
Exceptionally efficient work by the Boston fire department prevented the destruction of the six-story brick building at 50 Chardon street, occupied by the BicknellFuller Paper Box Company, recently. The blaze started in a pile of rubbish in the cellar on the Pitts street side of the factory and the fire went up the elevator shaft, spreading laterally on the fifth and sixth floors through open firedoors. Three alarms were sounded. The damage is estimated at $75,000. About 250 employees, many of them women, fled to the street, and all escaped in safety. Several firemen were overcome by the dense smoke while fighting the blaze at close range. The building was located in the congested west end district of the city. Box 1334 was sounded at 2:20 p. m., followed by two alarms from box 1321. When the first apparatus arrived heavy clouds of smoke were pouring from the basement and upper floors. Mobile hose lines were taken over ladders and to roofs of neighboring buildings. Lines were also run over stairways from Pitts street and through firewalls from the Chardon street side. A water tower was used to advantage on Pitts street.
The apparatus responding included twelve engine companies, three aerial ladder trucks, one city service truck, rescue squad, two chemical companies, two water towers, three fuel wagons, and protective department autos. Chief Peter F. McDonough was in general charge of operations. assisted by Senior Deputy C hief John O. Taber and four district chiefs. The department laid approximately 6,000 feet of two and a half and three-inch hose. Nozzles in use ranged from one and a quarter-inch Bresnan nozzle, to the water tower, which delivered a twoinch stream. The tower was used judiciously so as not to interfere with the men working inside the building. Ten and twelve-inch water mains were available with an ample number of hydrants. The smoke was extremely heavy on Pitts street, which is nothing more than an alley about 22 feet wide. This makes a bad condition as the first pieces of apparatus are apt to block the passage of heavier equipment arriving on multiple alarms. The possibilities for extension of the fire were large and tenements, factories, and stables were in close proximity to the burning building.
The fire demonstrated the efficiency of fire drills in factory buildings and also showed the need of a high pressure system for this part of the city. A factor that has to be taken into consideration in fires of this kind is the heavy paper stock, densely packed, which absorbs water to the extent of increasing the floor loads about 50 per cent. In this case good construction insured the safety of the firemen. The factory building was divided into three sections by lire walls and the damage was confined to the western part.
1 he budget ol Chicopee, Mass., tor 1919 was presented to the board of aldermen tin March 3. One of the chief increases was in the amount asked by the fire department, which needs approxmatiely $12,000 more than last year, on account of the advance in salaries given to the firemen.