Low Water Pressure Made Hard Work for San Antonio Firemen

Low Water Pressure Made Hard Work for San Antonio Firemen

The fire department of San Antonio, Tex., was compelled to work against great odds in fighting the fire which partially destroyed the plant of the Alamo Oil and Refining Company recently. In his account of the fire. Chief Phil Wright says: “The water supply was very poor, and the nearest hydrant with a 2 1/2-inch opening was supplied by a ‘dead end’ 4-inch main, while three other hydrants of the same size used were supplied by a 6-inch main, also ‘dead end,’ which caused our streams to be so weak that it was diffcult to fight such a large frame building with much effect. After the fire was under control and the two motor pumping engines had returned to their stations, there was not enough water to supply the two steamers. The plant was located two miles south of the central station, was onestory in height and had been built about six months. The floors were of wood, the whole structure being of frame construction covered with metal. No facilities, save a few feet of 1-inch hose, had been installed with which to extinguish fire, and when the flames broke out about 8 p. m., in the seed room, they spread with great rapidity. Twenty persons were employed in the building, but at that hour it was practically vacant. A telephone alarm was responded to bytwo motor-driven pumping engines, one second size American-La France steamer, one third-size Ahrens and nine hose wagons. The four 2 1/2inch hydrants were located about 650 feet apart. We used about 10,000 feet of four-ply cotton rubber-lined hose, with 1 1/8-inch nozzles. Two lengths of hose failed us. Our nozzles are of the Callahan shut-off type. We had the fire under control inside of one hour from the time it started, but the cotton seed smoldered for several days. It can easily be seen that with the water pressure at 70 pounds and such long lines of hose, that the task was not an easy one. Several firemen were burned and blistered about the face and hands, while fighting between the seed house and the mill, the latter being saved. The saving of this main building, valued at about $80,000, was a very difficult task on account of the six wooden conveyors running into it on two sides from the seed and hull houses. The cotton seed and hulls in the three buildings destroyed were valued at about $150,000, and the salvage on the mill will be about two-thirds of this amount.”

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