Lack of Smoke Helmets Hinders Lewistown Department
The Lewistown, Mont., Department was confronted with a very serious fire a short time ago, when the Commercial Building, situated in the center of the city’s business section, caught fire from an unknown cause. When the department arrived it found large clouds of dense smoke coming from the basement and ground floor of the two-story building. Chief John C. Bobb and his men were greatly hindered in their work by the fact that they possessed but one Morgan smoke helmet. Despite this handicap, the department, under the efficient leadership of Chief Bobb and Assistant Chieft Art J. Baker, did excellent work and succeeded in preventing the spread of the flames to the numerous surrounding buildings. Four paid men and twenty call men, along with the following apparatus, were at the blaze: One type 12 Atnerican-La France combination wagon, one hose wagon, one handdrawn ladder truck and two hand-drawn hose reels. There was 2,360 feet of cotton rubberlined hose in service, equipped with 1-, 1 1/8-, 1 1/4and 1 1/2-inch nozzles. An Eastman 3-way Deluge set was also used. Located about 250 feet apart, there were three 4-inch singles and three 6-inch double hydrants available for use, and at each of these 100 pounds of pressure was secured. Water was supplied for fighting the flames by means of the gravity system. The damaged building was valued at $46,800 and the contents at $29,600. It is estimated that the loss on the building amounted to $32,000 and that on the contents, to $14,800. The contents consisted of law office furnishings, business college supplies, a motion picture theatre equipment and clothing store stock. The building had stone walls, a wood interior and rubberoid roof. The fire started from an unknown cause at the rear end of the basement, in the furnace room, shortly after 7 a. m. It was extinguished in six hours, during which time two firemen were slightly injured.