More Fire, Please!
When a second alarm is sounded because the men and apparatus answering the first alarm don’t find enough fire, that’s news. But Chief Allie Feldman, Denver, Colo., ran into that very situation when the department was called to an ice-house blaze October 25th.
The flame, apparently caused by a workman using a blowtorch, burned its way into the thick sawdust insulation walls of a cold storage vault. Then it was swallowed by boiling smoke clouds that sent five fire fighters to the hospital.
The windowless, nearly airless vault made a perfect smoke trap in which men could work only with self-contained breathing apparatus. Feldman and Assistant Chiefs W. S. Bryan and Robert Graeber brought eleven pieces of apparatus into the 6-hour battle against the hidden, smudge-spouting fire.
According to Feldman, the time to find and douse the blaze would have been shortened considerably if there had been enough air to support a flareup. But the scant supply of oxygen barely kept the insulation smoldering.
In other words, there just wasn’t enough fire.