New York Firemen’s Good Work.
A big six-story brick store house at Benson and Leonard streets, New York, belonging to E. S. Jaffray & Co., the dry goods firm, was destroyed by fire last Tuesday night, and for nearly an hour the main building of the firm at Boadway and Leonard street, and several valuable buildings surrounding it were in imminent danger of destruction. Only the splendid work of the firemen averted a terrible annihilation of property. In spite of all that could be done, however, Jaffray & Co.’s loss will be nearly $400,000.
The first alarm was given at 9:30 by an automatic signal on the first floor of the storehouse, which is an annex of Jaffray & Co.’s main building at 350 llroadway, and is connected with it by an iron and glass covered bridge which spans Benson street.
The watchman in the Broadway building had made a tour of the annex three-quarters of an hour before, and had seen nothing suspicious. When the firemen arrived there was a red glare at the windows of the third floor, and before a single stream of water could be brought into play, the third and sixth floors of the building burst into flame.
A third alarm was turned in without waiting for a second, and Chief Bonner, Deputy Chief Reilly, eight more engine Companies and two water towers were added to the fighting force. By this time the fire had spread to the remaining stories of the building. Chief Bonner ordered a fourth alarm, and then the firemen settled down to a determined battle.
Besides [affray’s main building another of their warehouses, a live-story L-shapcd brick structure on the north and east of the blazing storehouse, was in danger, and it was also evident that if the doomed building should fall the risk to other property near it on the opposite side of the surrounding narrow streets would be very great. Included in the danger was the handsome twelve-story building of the New York l ire Insurance Company, which is in course of completion, in Leonard street, exactly opposite the site of the fire.
The narrow streets hindered the firemen and their movements were still further hampered by huge piles of building material intended for use in the Insurance Building.
The firemen of some of the first companies which arrived on the scene entered Jaffray’* main building through the windows on to the iron bridge spanning Benson streeet and smashing its glass sides, worker there until they were driven back inch by inch to the shelter of the walls. Then they mounted the roof and manned the windows, directing a dozen streams across the street into the blazing building opposite.
On the same side also the fire was fiercely fought underground. Beside the bridge, a tunnel between the basements, running under the street, connected the two buildings. The currents of hot air drew the flames into this tunnel until they were met at the Broadway end of it by the firemen and driven back.
Water Tower No. t was brought to play on the flames from the Leonard street side of the building. As soon as its stream was turned on, the fourth floor of the annex fell in. Soon only the burning skeleton of the building was left. It extended for eighty feet fronting on Benson street and for fifty feet on I-canard street, and smouldered until long after midnight, although the danger was practically over by 10:30.
After that hour the watch on the surrounding buildings was relaxed and the attention of the firemen was concentrated on the one structure which hail been wrecked.
The burned building was devoted mainly to the clerical department of Jaffray & Company’s business, but it contained also a large stock of valuable upholstery. On the first and second floors, where the fire must have started, were the shipping department’s offices. Above, on the third and fourth floors was stored the firm’s upholstery stock, and the sixth floor was tenanted by the entry clerks. No one was in the building when the firestarted, audits origin is amystery.
It is said that the damage to the building would be at least $50,000 and the loss on the stock it had contained would amount to $350,000 more. The damage to the stock in the shipping department was considerably lessened by the action of the fire patrol, whose members succeeded in covering a quantity of the stock on the first floor with tarpaulin covers.
At a recent special election at Lean Yan, N. Y., the tax payers voted against levying a special tax of $3,000. Of this money $767.80 was to be paid for fire hose purchased in September. It is said that several lawsuits will probably result in the action of the village, as the bills for the payment of which the special tax was intended cannot be met in any other way. The fire hose was purchased front the Eureka Eire llose Company of New York.