NEW YORK FIRE GOSSIP.

NEW YORK FIRE GOSSIP.

At long last a definite step has been taken towards obtaining a much needed new building code for this city. The ordinance provides for a commission of seven experts in the science and practice of building, who shall have been ergaged for not less than five years in business on their own account in New York city, a representative of the corporation counsel exofficio, and of the board of buildings. But why should not the fire department be represented in the commission ? Surely anything connected with the erection or inspection of buildings touches that department nearly. The board of under writers also, it would seem, should have a representative.— Thanks to rain and thaw—very little to Commissioner McCartney, though, perhaps, to his prayers—the highways and byeways of Greater New York are now passable for the fire apparatus. But did not Cromwell exhort his men to “ trust in Providence and keep their powder dry ?” And was it not a Napoleonic axiom that Providence was “on the side of the strongest battalions?” Mr. McCartney’s battalions were very weak.—The law committee of the council has reported against the proposed Sulzer ordinance to compel theatrical managers to put up anti draught screens in the rear of theatres. To do so would be to violate the rules of the building and fire departments — Fire Commissioner Scannell has lent Chief Bonuer a fast trotter, so that his wagon may get round quickly during the season of heavy roads. He has also given to the department a phaeton and coach horse—the latter a match for one he gave it in 1894.—Fireman Michael Loring, of truck No. 5, borough of Brooklyn, while working on a tire at 91 Eighth avenue in that borough, fell from the second’ story window into the area, and was badly hurt.—All must sympathize with Rev. Dr. Brann, of St. Agnes Roman Catholic church. East Forty-third street, on the great havoc wrought by the flames in his beautiful church. Several flue paintings are altogether ruined; the beautiful high altar badly damaged; its steel canopy utterly wrecked ; and the new organ rendered useless. The loss, which fortunately is fully insured, is $70-, 000. The firemen had apparently subdued the first early morning outbreak; the second came nearly causing a conflagration.—The great fire of Sunday night is still the talk of the the town, which for the most part indorses Chief Bonner’s opinion given several years ago. 1/e then said that,to handle such fires effectively, the high buildings must be limited in height to ihe capacity of the water supply and apparatus employed to extinguish fires in them; second, the height must be be limited to 150 feet; if it is necessary to increase that height* beyond the power of the fire department to cope with the fires* then additional precautions should be introduced to aid the firemen in extinguishing the flames. The Home Life build, ing has escaped wonden ullv. There seems to be little or no buckling or leaning on the part of the columns and steel girders. though there may be some distortion or bending. There is certainly no appreciable warping. The beams were all covered with brick and terra cotta and asbestos.—In endeavoring to save the life of a wagon driver,Edward Tracy, driver of engine No. 65, met with injuries which may cause his death, He was hurrying with his three-horsed five ton engine (almost a new one) from his quarters between Fifth and Sixth ave nues and was turning into Broadway, near Forty-third street, when he saw a light delivery wagon coming up Seventh avenue. The driver did not see or hear the engine approaching, and Tracy, seeing that, rang his gong furiously, while Engineer Connelly blew the whistle lordly. The driver of the wagon then lost his head,and Tracy, to avoid killing him and his horse, did not hesitate o risk his own life, and quickly wheeled his horses round, heading them for the gutter. For a moment the engine, suddenly checked, sipped over the asphalt, slightly careening on the right hind wheel. Then it struck a snowheap-a monument of McCartney incapacity—and toppled over, horses and men going with it. So great was the momentum that the engine slid about thirty-five feet before it was checked—the horses being pushed forward with it on the ground. Close behind the engine came the company’s tende^ on which were Firemen I)e Groot and several other members of the company. They jumped from the tender and went to the rescue of their injured comrades. Tracy was at once unstrapped from the seat and taken in a jiffy into a nearby hallway. Captain Norris ar.d Engineer Connelly were picked up unconscious, but soon revived. Tracy was removed in an ambulance to Roosevelt hospital,and Captain Norris and Connelly to the comoany’s quarters. Connelly was seriously hurt.while Captain Norris suffered only from severe shock. Tracy may not survive his injuries A similar accident happened last Christmas Day and caused the death of Fireman Calnan, the driver of engine company No. 17. Yet there are those who do not think over firemen heroes!—Chief Baxter of the Philadelphia fire department, and Chief Building Inspector Iladcock, of the same city, came to this city to inspect critically the ruins of Sunday night’s fire.

NEW YORK FIRE GOSSIP.

2

NEW YORK FIRE GOSSIP.

Blizzards and such like trifles are not much regarded in themselves by the firemen of this city. But. when they find it impossible to “get there” on being summoned to a fire, then, in the words of the old Scottish chopper of logic. “The case being altered, alters the case.” That happened in one case in Brooklyn, when both engines got stalled in the snow drifts, and one never reached the scene of the fire at all; the other arriving after over an hour’s hard hauling, with frequent stallings, only in time to find ruins. Pieces of apparatus on runners, such as are found in Monti eal and other cities, would remedy such a condition of affairs. The department was badly handicapped in the same way on Tuesday in essaying to reach the fire which destroyed the big car house of the Union Railway Company at One Hundred and Seventy-third street and Boston road,borough of the Bronx. The building, which was of brick and two stories high, was 150 by 250 feet, built with iron girders and posts, and supposed to be almost fireproof. It burned like tinder, all the same. The fire engines summoned were constantly kept back by snow drifts four and five feet deep ; a truck was stalled in such a snow drift, whose obstructiveness was added to by a sewer excavation, and never reached the fire at all. T he water pressure was inadequate, and the hydrants were of the small oldfashioned type. Surrounding the car shed were frame structures, and on the second story of the house itself were sixty open summer cars and fifteen closed new cars that had never been used, all providing food for the flames. On the second story were also the paint shop and the general repair shops of the electric motors. On the ground were forty carson the tracks; but these were taken away when the fire broke out. The fire started in the armature repair room in the northeast corner of the second story at about 11 .’30 a. m., and the flames rapidly spread to the paint shop and supply room, containing oil and other inflammable materials. Three alarms were turned in and the power turned off at the {rower house, a quarter of a mile away, so that the firemen might work in safety among the trolley wires. The frame sheds round about soon caught fire, and all Chief Short could do was to try to confine the fire exclusively to the carhouse and save the adjoining property. In this he was successful, though the intense heat of the fire melted the snow for many hundred yards about the carhouse, and the firemen were obliged to wade in slush in places almost to their waist. The damage will exceed $100,000. The insurance amounts to that figure. The lines of cars stopped are the Fordham, West Farms, 1‘ort Morris, Westchester avenue, Southern Boulevard, 161st street, Westchester,Mount Vernon, High Bridge, Willis avenue lines.—In the borough of Manhattan there were no bad fires up to Thursday morning; but the department was sadly handicapped in getting out to small ones—thanks to the utter breakdown in the arrangements of the street cleaning department, the lack of foresight exhibited by its head, and the slowness in meeting the emergency, even when certain remedial measures could have been taken. 1 he firemen, like other people, sadly missed Col. V aring and his energetic corps of officers and men. hire Commissioner Scanned did what he could by providing extra horses; but even then, in more cases than one, notably in Bark avenue, irritating delays were constantly occurring. T hat important thoroughfare, for quite forty-eight hours, was practically a stone wall obstruction to the department, hire companies on either side of it were compelled to go round by way of horty second street on the south or Fifty-ninth street on the north in responding to alarms. Hook and ladder company No. 2,located at Fiftieth stieet and Lexington avenue, fared particularly badly.—On Thursday morning the expected bad fire broke out in the eight-story building at the southwest corner of V* ooster and West Third streets. The flames were first seen by a letter carrier,and last of all,by a policeman. They were breaking out from the second story window and had been visible for ten minutes before the letter earlier turned in an alarm. The po* licrman.it appears, had denied the possibility of there being a tire on his post and was arguing the point, when the letter carrier turned in the alarm. Owing to the terrible condition of the streets, the fire apparatus was delayed, the horses and heavy engines, water tower, and trucks slipping and sliding about. Some were stuck for some seconds, even minutes in the snow drifts, and the much needed water tower was very tong in arriving—through no fault of the department, only of Commissioner McCartney, whom Providence had not favored by sending rain or warm weather. It was fifteen minutes before a stream was thrown on the fire and the building was simply gutted. Alt that could be done was to save the surrounding property in one of the chief business centres in the city. Several firemen were cut by falling glass, and a bunch of firemen holding the nozzle were thrown down by the back draught, but were unhurt. A violent explosion from the West ‘Third street side shook the whole building, and nearly threw down the laddeis with the firemen on them. They swayed to and fro, but kept their place. The loss is conservatively set at $175,000. The first floor was occupied by the New York Dispatch and Delivery Company; the second, where the fire started, and others to the top by various clothing firms. When the roof fell, it carried with^it.part^of^the wall on the Third street side, and the whole building after the fire, seemed tattering and dangerous. The fire marshal is suspicious as to the origin of the fire, and will investigate.—On the same morning, Capt. Aiken, of engine company No. 55, Lieutenant William Wieland, of truck No. 8, and Deptuty Chief Tally were overcome by gas from a new meter which had exploded, causing a fire in the cellar of 39 41 Greene street. Chief Reilly was rescued by his men,and soon recovered consciousness. It was feared Wieland would die. Supt Reilly, of the Consolidated Gas Company, sixty-five years old, was partially overcome by the escaping gas when trying to turn it off. All will now recover.—Captain Joseph Martin, of engine company No. 39, and Fireman Henry Volk, of engine company No. 55, two of the firemen of Manhattan borough, were very severely, possibly permanently Injured last Saturday morning, at a fire at 87 Walker street, by falling through three floors to the cellar of the building. The fire was in the rear of Walter & Co-’s paper factory, and soon the firemen found that the flames had entered through the floorings of the second and third floors. It took an hour to extinguish the fire. All the rear of three floors of the building was badly damaged, and $10,000 damage was done to stock and building. The firemen said that the building must have been burning all night, and that possibly a stove had caused the flames. When Volk fell, he was still clutching the hose. CaptMartin went through the hole; and was buried under the debris. The firemen were looking for him, when they saw a hand holding a lantern, and dug in and got him out. His back was hurt, and his right arm dislocated. Volk had broken his left arm, and sustained severe injuries. The police took both men to the Hudson street hospital.

ENGINE COMPANY NO. 4 (SELF-PROPELLER), HARTFORD, CONN.