IN a previous number of FIRE AND WATER was described the good work done by the fire department of Milwaukee, under the direction of Chief Foley, in fighting a fierce blaze in the elevator of the Wisconsin Milling company, near the Sixth street viaduct, and saving the building from total destruction. The almost impossibility of saving such structures, especially when the fire is well alight before the fire department can reach it, is a fact well known to all firemen. As a rule,they burn right down to the ground, in spite of every effort made to avoid such a consummation.

In the case of the Milwaukee elevator such would doubtless have taken place, had it not been for the prsence of the Judge automatic nozzles, which made it possible to save the property. That they were able to do so only bore out Chief Foley’s theories on the subject of such an apparatus. He has always held that, with the aid of automatic nozzles, elevator fires can lie subdued, and the experience he derived from t he fire alluded to has not only confirmed him in his views, but also convinced such experts as Chief Swenie and others from Chicago of the adaptability of such apparatus to the purpose of fighting elevator fires.

The burned building underwent a searching examination at the hands of the Chicago party, which, among others, consisted of the following: Chief Swenie; T. A. Bowden. superintendent of rating, of the Chicago Underwriters’ association; Cyrus Handy; Charles Bishop; Harry McGill; James Witkowsky; E. T. Shephard, superintendent of the Chicago fire patrol service; William Robinson, Philip Jackson, and 8 J. Flares, of Chicago; and M. J. Brown, of the Milwaukee board of fire underwriters. After the inspection of t he ruins the party was taken to the station on the fireboat Cataract, where a test of the nozzles was given.

It will be remembered that on the arrival of the first company of firemen, not only were the sheds along the river front ablaze, with no hope of saving them, but the fire bad also extended to the grain elevator and adjoining mill, and was likewise endangering the tannery plant. The elevator was 143 by forty-five feet and eighty feet high, the grinding mill, 140 by forty feet, and seventy-one feet in height. Both fronted on the numerous switching tracks of the C. W. and 8t. Paul railway. Each building was equipped with the Judge nozzle—three in the elevator and two in the mill, with outside standpipe connections to all. One standpipe on the elevator at the rear was provided with a Judge nozzle to the top floor; there was, besides, one standpipe on the mill and on the rear of the building, also connected under the roof in the mill with a Judge nozzle. Neither one of the nozzles, however, could be operated, as the fire was in full possession of the rear of the buildings on the outside. Notwithstanding this, the two nozzles in the elevator did most thoroughly satisfactory work and put out all the fire in, and round them. In fact, as will be seen from the accompanying illustrations, they held the roof directly over the nozzles perfectly intact, and within half an hour the fire in the elevator was under control, simply through the working of the Judge nozzle,which was located under the roof and over the grain bins in the elevator. The same results were obtained from the working of the Judge nozzle in the grinding mill, where there were two such nozzles, one of which, however, was disabled through not being able to connect, on account of fire being in, and round it. The other was about fifty feet from the front of the building, and by its action and work it held more than one-half of the roof of the building in place, while the machinery on the top floor was only partially damaged. Thus the Judge nozzle directly controled the flames, particularly in the elevator, and by its means the fire was reached at the top limit of the building, where it was impossible for any human being to live and work, even if the fire> had been on the outside. It must not be forgotten that, while the two automatic nozzles were placed at work directly under the roof of the building, the other at the farther end of the structure could not be connected or operated on account of the fierceness of the flames. The other two nozzles, however,it may be noted, were sufficient to wet down the entire upper floor of the building and to hold the fire in check, so that only the roof burned off. The flames, though fierce, were not allowed to burn even the floors above, so effective were the streams that were thrown from the automatic apparatus. Although the whole upper part of the elevator was a mass of flame, where no firemen could live a moment, the big automatic nozzles in the heart of the fire continued to throw water until the fire was subdued and the firemen could work their way up. While that part of the elevator where the nozzles were operated was only badly scorched, the north end, where the one nozzle could not be operated, was totally burned under the roof. Without the automatic apparatus, therefore, the entire building would doubtless have been burned.

Chief Swenie expressed the greatest surprise when he saw the building, and said:

Your department did a fine piece of work in saving the elevator I have often heard of the automatic nozzles but I never believed that they were so effective. The fire in the elevator speaks foritself It was a practical demonstration of the new apparatus and without it the bui’ding could never have been saved.

It would have been impossible for any fireman to go in the building to work, and from the outside he could have done nothing. The elevator would simply have burned, as hundreds of others have. Up to this time we have not been able to find any apparatus to fight elevator fires, but I believe your department has solved the subject 1 am convinced that the flames could not have been controled with ordinary streams. The fire Would have got into the Pfister & Vogel plant, and would have swept the valley. The effectiveness of the apparatus was best shown by the two nozzles that operated and the one that did not. Where the nozzles could be worked, there was no trouble in fighting the fire. The one that could not be Connected shows that the fire did great damage about it The manner in which your firemen saved the building speaks for itself and the new apparatus.


T. A. Bowden, superintendent of rating, of the Chicago Underwriters’ association, said that the test of the apparatus had been under the circumstances most favorable for a fire, and that the bins of the building being empty had given the blaze a great draught and had assured a fierce fire, improved apparatus the Milwaukee department could not have saved the building.

The illustrations accompanying this article convey a perfect idea of the way in which the Judge nozzles work,and, on the one hand, show how geat was the damage w’here the one nozzle could not work—the fierceness of the flames rendering it impossible to connect with it, and, on the other, the contrary results where the two nozzles were enabled to work on the fire


No posts to display