Multiple Alarm Fought In Near-Zero Weather
Temperature close to zero made fighting two second-alarm fires a bitter experience for Montreal area firemen two days before Christmas. Freezing hose lines and ice-encrusted equipment complicated the attack on these fires.
Last December 23 in Montreal, a crippled man was found dead beside an overturned portable heater, which is believed to have caused a fire in his flat that was put out with an extinguisher, and another man lost his life at an apartment fire the next day.
Twelve lines were used by Montreal firemen to fight a two-alarm blaze in a two-story building at Desnoyers and St. James Streets. The fire in the vacant building, scheduled to be demolished, was discovered at 12:15 p.m. two days before Christmas, and water was poured on the ruins until after 5 p.m. Despite the heavy icing on the fireground, there were no injuries.
In Lachine, a two-alarm fire started at 6:35 p.m. last December 23 in the rear of the second floor of a threestory brick building. The homes of four families were burned out and several businesses, including a department store and a restaurant, were severely damaged as the flames ranged from 970 to 984 Notre Dame Street.
An extensive area was plunged into darkness when utility men cut two power lines so Lachine and LaSalle firemen could raise aerial ladders to the roof, which later collapsed. Firemen put 15 hose lines into service before gaining control while hundreds of Christmas shoppers weathered the bitter cold to watch the blaze.