Hotel Building Saved in Clothing Fire by Eau Claire Department
A night clerk in a hotel on the opposite side of the street, discovered the Continental Clothing Company’s store, on the first floor of the annex of the Eau Claire House, Eau Claire, Wis., to be on fire at 5:26 a. m„ recently, and phoned in an alarm. This was followed almost immediately by a box alarm, which someone else had pulled. The fire, it is thought, originated from the act of a careless smoker in the store and had therefore been smouldering some hours in the clothing store before it burst into flames. The building, a frame structure, with brick veneer and unprotected iron supports, and with wooden partition in basement and second floor, was two stories in height and covered an area of 100×50 feet. It was about 30 years old. The hotel guests on the second floor and in the main hotel building adjoining, all escaped safely, with the assistance of the firemen, three of whom were injured during the fire. Chief James P. Welsh, on the arrival of the department, found the first floor a mass of flames, and the fire spread to the attic and basement by means of the hollow veneer walls. The window’s were blown out by a back draft explosion, and owing to the old type of construction the fire spread rapidly to the main building of the hotel. Chief Welsh devoted his energies to saving this structure and succeeded in stopping the fire at the third floor, thus preventing a disastrous conflagration, as the buildings nearby were of flimsy construction and old style. Two motor combination cars, two horse-drawn wagons and one service ladder truck were present. Eight hydrant streams, with nozzles of 1 1/8 and 1 1/4 inches were thrown, there being ten 4-inch double hydrants available, with excellent direct pumping pressure at 100 to 115 pounds, from 6 and 12-in mains. There were laid in all 2,600 feet of hose, of which one length burst. The property was valued at $55,000, and the contents at $102,000, the loss on buildings being $35,000 and on contents $92,000.