Hazardous Conditions in Kansas Fire
A fire surrounded by particularly hazardous conditions was that which destroyed the building of the Downs Ice and Light Company in Downs, Kan. According to an account furnished by Chief C. E. Tate of the Downs fire department, everything around the building was oil-soaked and there was one oil cistern inside of the building containing 400 barrels and one just outside containing 7,000 gallons of oil, both of which had wooden covers. The fire, according to Chief Tate, was started by a barrel of oil being placed on top of the engine boiler used to feed the engine. This, the chief says, “was very careless in my opinion.” The building was one story in height, 70×75 feet, and constructed of cement and brick, there being an asbestos roof. The barrel of oil on top of the boiler exploded at 11 :25 P.M., and the alarm was given at 11:30 by phone. When the department, consisting of ten men, arrived the entire building was on fire and the oil cistern inside was ablaze. The department not being equipped with any fire apparatus used two hydrant streams from two 4-inch hydrants, spaced about 400 feet apart, with a pressure of 60 pounds at the hydrant, the street mains being four inch. Some 900 feet of hose were laid. The loss on the building, which was valued at $100,000, was total, and the loss on the contents, electric and ice-making machinery, valued at $90,000, amounted to from $28,000 to $30,000.