LIVELY BLAZE IN BROADWAY
About nine years ago the building which stood upon the site of the Empire State offices at the southeast corner of Broadway and Bleecker street, Manhattan, New York, was destroyed by fire. In its place was erected the nine-story fireproof or, at all events, slow-burning structure, the seventh, eighth and ninth floors of which were recently gutted by a fierce fire which broke out shortly after noon. The blaze started on the seventh floor in the warerooms of the Crescent Trimmed Hat company, which were full of combustible materials such as paper boxes, light gauze fabrics and the like. The flames in an incredibly short space of time ran through the length and breadth of the floor up to the two floors above, twenty-five feet in Broadway and 125 feet East in Bleecker street. The passenger and the freight elevator shafts were responsible in great part for the rapid spread of the fire, which in its incipient stage appeared near an elevator shaft. As soon as it was discovered, an employe tried to turn on the water from the standpipes, but was not successful in getting any, and he then threw a few buckets of water on the blaze. These had no effect in stopping the course of the flames. Meanwhile an automatic fire alarm in the building summoned the fire department, another alarm being turned in almost immediately by a policeman, from a box half a block away. He had hardly done so before the flames were visible outside the building and entering the upper floors through the windows as the glass broke under the intense heat. The double alarm was answered by Deputy Chief Kruger, and a third alarm was sent in. Fifteen engines and two water towers were at once set to work attacking the flames on flank, rear and front. The water pressure, however, was defective, and from one of the towers only a very weak stream was thrown. The other, however, in front of the building, worked much better, although not all that should have been looked for from it. Up to the sixth floor its stream was powerful enough to smash in a heavy plate glass window, part of whose sheet dropped straight down on a fire ladder that was leaning against the wall and cut it in two as clean as with an axe. The inadequate pressure was put down by the fire department to the elevation of that part of the city. But there was no water in the building itself, the roof tanks being empty. Some of the employes state that that condition had prevailed for the last two years; another, that it was due to the fact that the water in the toilet rooms had been shut off for two days, while the plumbers were at work. It took the department nearly two hours to get the fire under, at the end of which time the three floors at the top contained only wreckage and the other floors were drowned out by the water. The loss was heavy. The accompanying illustrations shows the water towers and other apparatus at work, the hose stretched, the firemen at their posts, and all this without any confusion, at about the busiest time, in the busiest portion of the busiest street in the busiest city on the American continent!