Three-Alarm Fire Weakens Building Loaded with Paper and Machinery—Many Reporters Rescued by Department Nearby Structures Saved

ALL firemen on the day platoon were called out to fight a fire that gutted the four-story brick building of the Scranton “Republican,” a newspaper publishing plant in Scranton. Pa. Thirteen firemen were injured, but none seriously, during the five hours that the department was on duty.

Pressmen were making ready for the first edition of the newspaper when a blinding flash came from the switchboard controlling the large presses, and was followed by a burst of fire. Within a few moments, the entire press room was involved, and the men had barely enough time to escape. Men at work in the editorial rooms were unaware of what was happening in the press room, until some one shouted, “Fire.” The reporters remained at their desk as long as possible, and many had exciting escapes. Firemen brought a number of them down ladders.

Newspaper Plant of the Scranton Republican, Gutted by Fire the Morning of April 4

Assistant Chief Lewis responded on the first alarm. As soon as he entered the building and noted the intensity of the blaze, he ordered a second alarm. This brought Chief Peter J. Rosar, superintendent of the Bureau of Fire, Assistant Superintendent Charles Harman and six companies. Shortly after Chief Rosar arrived, he ordered a third alarm turned in. Within thirty minutes, all firemen on the day platoon had been called out, including all the battalion chiefs.

Fearing that the weakened floors, heavily loaded with machinery would collapse, Chief Rosar ordered his men out of the danger zone. Linotype machine buried under a portion of the caved-in roof, were in constant danger of crashing through to the basement. The walls were in danger of crashing, but they held.

Water was furnished through eight hydrants. Only four of the city’s fire companies were held in reserve. Mains varied in diameter from six to twenty-four inches. Two turret pipes with 1 1/2-inch tips were used, and one ladder pipe with the same size tip. Twelve hose lines were used.

Engines in service were as follows: 1 wo 1,000-gallon American-LaFrance pumpers, two 750-gallon Amcrican-LaFrance pumpers, one 900-gallon Metropolitan steam engine, one Seagrave 85-foot aerial ladder, one Amcrican-LaFrance 75-foot aerial ladder, one American-LaFrance city service truck.

Despite the intensity of the blaze, firemen succeeded in saving the adjoining buildings from both fire and water damage.

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