Lack of Protection Causes Destruction of Hotel
The very striking view of the fire in Peninsula Hotel, San Mateo, Cal., on the cover of this week’s issue, illustrates another instance of that strange lack of foresight which allows a valuable building, the extent of which can be judged by the picture on this page, to stand without adequate fire protection. The fire started in the servants’ quarters in the top floor of the huge wooden structure about 5.40 P. M. from an unascertained cause but assumed to be from either an electric iron or a cigarette. There was a pump in the basement and hose on every floor but no chemical extinguishers nor sprinklers. When the firemen arrived, under command of Chief B. S. Gibson, much might have been done to save the building had there been facilities, as the fire was still confined to a small area in the attic. The chief telephoned for assistance to neighboring towns who responded with their apparatus, consisting of 2 American-LaFrance pumpers, 1 Seagrave and 1 Ahrens-Fox, 1 ladder and 4 hose trucks, but the fire was beyond control when they arrived. There were 5 four-inch single hydrants with a pressure of 40 pounds, the lack of pressure hampering the firemen seriously. Four engine streams were thrown at one time and 3,000 feet of hose laid. The fire burned itself out in about four hours. The loss on the building, which was valued at $400,000, was total, and on contents, value $75,000, about $27,000 as considerable of the furniture, fittings, etc., were salvaged.