Opera House Fire at Mahanoy City, Pa.
The most destructive fire in the history of Mahanoy City, Pa., took place at 7:24 o’clock a. m., October 22, when the Kaier Grand Opera House was destroyed with a loss of $100,000. The building was four and one-half stories high, covered one-third of an acre, and was built of brick 17 years ago. The fire was caused by an explosion of unknown origin in the flys. Two men were in the theater when the explosion occured, and the alarm was promptly sent in. The volunteer fire department quickly responded, although many of the firemen are miners and had commenced work in the mines when the fire commenced. The fire spread quickly to all parts of the building and was beyond control within a few minutes, lhe department had in service four engines: 2 Gilsby, 1 La France and 1 Button; 3 hose wagons, a Holloway combination and a Rumscy ladder truck. Twelve streams and 5,300 feet of hose were used. Twenty lengths of hose burst during the fire. There were 25 double hydrants and an 8-inch main of the gravity water system, with 45 pounds pressure in a 50-foot wide street.
This was Chief George A. Brownmiller’s first fire as a chief and the press and public are loud in praise of the excellent maimer in which he handled it. confining it to the building in which it originated, in the most congested section of the city. Many buildings were ignited by sparks and burning embers, and at one time the situation looked favorable for a conflagation. Chief Brownmiller then sent to Shenandoah for assistance, the Phoenix, Columbia and Rescue companies responding over the Lehigh Railroad, with an engine, a combination wagon, a laddertruck, and 75 men, who rendered good service, although the fire was under control before they arrived. The Gcrardville department, without being called sent 30 men and a hose over the Reading railroad. The lire was under control at nine o’clock.
The enactment of a fire marshal law was advocated by Governor Major, of Missouri, on October 24 in an address before the Missouri Fire Prevention Association, at its meeting in Jefferson City. He said the fire marshal should be invested with power to inspect buildings of every character and compel the owner or occupant to remove fire hazards.