Heater Starts Quarter-Million-Dollar Fire
A flash fire, which apparently started by an explosion in a forced air heater in a one-story cement building, swept through the plant of the RCA Service Company at East Haven, Conn., on Jan. 17, causing damage estimated by fire officials at more than $250,000.
The entire interior of the office and service building was swept by the blaze, which also broke through the roof in several places. The Company is a subsidiary of the Radio Corporation of America, and occupies a cement block building.
Six employes escaped from the plant without any serious injuries in a blaze that quickly destroyed 100 television sets, as well as hundreds of tubes and other accessories. The plant, which employs 12 persons, is used for making major repairs and overhauling television sets. Six color sets, valued at $1,000 each, were destroyed by the flames.
East Haven firemen, under command of Fire Chief Thomas Hayes, were hampered in their attempt to control the blaze because of a shortage of gas masks. The East Haven department actually had only two masks and additional gas masks which had been requested in the 1955 town budget were among the items cut out when the annual town meeting in October, 1954, reduced the proposed tax rate.
The alarm was received at 12:41 p.m. Engines 1, 6 and Truck 1, from East Haven headquarters, and the Riverside Company responded, and were assisted by 25 volunteer firefighters.