HOT FIRE IN A ROCHESTER FACTORY
Specially written for FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING.
A night fire destroyed the Rochester, N. Y., branch of the Genesee Fruit company on Moore street, in the Northwestern part of the city. The buildings were situated on the bank of the Erie canal and set back from the street a considerable distance, which required long lines of hose to reach fire. The flames were practically confined to the buildings in which they originated, although those on the opposite side of the street were set on fire at the same time and great headway had been made before they were discovered. The warehouse, which was twenty-five years old and was not sprinklered, was frame, 3-story and basement, taking up a space of about 2-8 acres. The blaze, which w’as incendiary, started in the east end of the main building and the centre of the annex, and when the fire department reached the spot, the flames were coming through the roofs. In answer to the “three-threes” turned in Chief Charles Little, nearly the whole firefighting force of the city came up, with 11 engines (5 first-size, 5 second-size, and 1 third-size), 13 hose wagons, 4 hook and ladder trucks, and 1 water tower. There were 16 double hydrants available—12 4-in. and 4 6-in., with a waterpressure of 4 lb. for engine-suction and 100 lb. for direct (Holly) system. The distance between each hydrant was 300 ft. Of engine streams eighteen were thrown; of hydrant, six; twentyfour being t he greatest number thrown at one time, and these mostly through smooth ijdri”. nozzles, although one Deluge set was used. The 1,400 ft. of 2j4-in. cotton, rubber-lined hose laid stood the strain admirably, not one length having burst. On the 40-ft. wide street where the fire took place only a 4-in. main was laid, w’hich, of course, furnished only poor pressure; but better was afforded from the 12-in. at Lyell avenue and Oak street. Between the large building was an alleyway 30 ft. wide. The blaze, which was a fierce one, both on account of the building being old and of wood construction, and because of its contents, consisting of barrels, vats, and the like, was discovered by a fireman in front of his quarters, w’ho saw’ the reflection in the sky. He called up the company, which responded immediately and dropped a man off to turn in the first alarm at 9:23 p. m.; the third alarm (three threes) being turned in at 9:28. The fire w’as under control at about 11:15; it caused a loss estimated at $125,000. It was an ugly blaze to fight, and (says Chief Little), “but for a nasty shift of the wind, the work of the department would have been much easier. When we arrived on the scene the wind was blowing from the north, and we placed our apparatus so as to head off the flames from traveling any farther south. The wind, however, soon shifted to directly the opposite direction, and I was forced to swing the engines round to the other side of the building in order to combat the change. It was a hard fight, the intense heat and the heavy smoke making it difficult to cope with, but wc confined it to the one building.” The firemen did excellent work in saving nearby buildings. None of the men were injured, although they were all in imminent danger of being overcome by the smoke and obnoxious fumes constantly being generated, and there was more or less danger from falling timbers. Although sparks set fire to fifteen freight cars of the New York Central railway and completely destroyed them, and set alight, also, the tile sheds of the adjacent sewer-pipe plant, as well as (for a short time) to the roof of its main building—-the good work of the firemen saving these—a conflagration might have broken out at any moment. A row of tenement houses across the Erie canal and fronting on Magnc street was threatened, but was saved by being kept constantly wet down. A pole carrying scores of telephone or telegraph wires was in the path of the flames and was burned to the ground, carrying the wires with it. During the progress of the fire several explosions occurred. A quantity of benzine stored in a small building a short distance from the main structure took fire and exploded, sending sparks in all directions and throwing burning brands everywhere, setting fire to the parts as yet unburned. The insurance on the plant and contents was $110,500; insurance-loss, $90,000.