Nashville Department Makes Some Rescues

Nashville Department Makes Some Rescues

One fireman was hurt, one overcome by smoke, and several lives were in serious peril in the fire in Nashville, Tenn., which recently caused heavy damage to the Hitchcock building, a six-story structure occupied on the street floor by a confectioner’s establishment and a shoe store. The fire broke out about 9 a. m. and was caused by an exploding gas meter, thought to have been ignited by a defective electric wire. The meter was in the north end of the basement and the fire spread with such rapidity that, although the alarm was pulled almost immediately, the department on its arrival found heavy clouds of smoke and flame pouring from the basement. Two persons were at work there and as the exits were cut off the firemen had great difficulty in rescuing them. Chief A. A. Rozetta feared that the fire might spread to the closely adjoining buildings and ordered a general alarm, as the escaping gas added greatly to the danger. Hindered by the intense heat and the heavy smoke, the firemen fought for nearly an hour before they could effect entrance to the burning portion of the building, the 4-in. concrete floor of the first story preventing quick use of the cellar nozzles, making it necessary to smash through. The 180 men engaged employed fifteen pumpers, ten of which were motor and five steam; also two aerial trucks. The 6,000 feet of cotton rubber-lined hose laid proved to be in good condition as none burst. Eight hydrants of various types were available, from 300 to 500 feet apart and having an average pressure of 50 pounds from a gravity system. The street main was 12 inches. Ten engine streams were thrown at one time from nozzles. The fire was confined to the basement and was under control in about two hours but was not fully subdued for four hours. Captain Moore fell from a ladder into the burning basement and broke his right arm, but was rescued and sent to the hospital. O. L. Berry, a pipeman, was overcome by the dense smoke, while trying to enter the basement and was also taken to the hospital. There was considerable alarm among the occupants of the upper floors, all of which were used as offices, because of the fact that the elevator in the front part of the building was made useless in the beginning by the fire destroying the generator, while smoke and flame made the rear stairway unsafe. Those in the offices were helped down the fire escapes to the second floor and thence reached the ground by ladders. The property was valued at $100,000 and sustained a damage of $16,000, while the contents, valued at $150,000, were injured to the extent of $50,000. That the results of the fire were not more serious must be attributed to the fact that Chief Rozetta ordered a general alarm almost in the beginning, as the building was in a district where a fire might spread rapidly.

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