PACIFIC COAST NEWS
Another Richmond Housing Fire
Families of thirty-two shipyard workers were made homeless on September 25 when a fire raced through a 32-family housing unit in the War Terrace Apartments, Richmond (Calif) overlooking the Kaiser Shipyard No. 3.
Six Richmond companies responded to the two alarms but although the fire was soon under control firemen were forced to overhaul for more than two hours because of the way the fire had spread through wooden heating vents. Fire Chief W. P. Cooper, reporting the $25,000 loss said his men had to “take the place apart” to extinguish the blaze and added “I’m thankful that this time there was no loss of life as there has been in other of these fires.” Perhaos the fact that the fire occurred at 1:24 P. M. instead of A. M. helped. The cause was an overheated stove. Fire Chief Cooper has relentlessly fought the type of construction employed in housing projects and more than once has clashed with housing authorities over the fire hazards which have been responsible for not less than a dozen deaths in dormitory fires in the overcrowded city. In some cases, inadequate fire alarm and hydrant protection have been contributing factors.
And Still Another in Richmond
On September 11 an early morning fire caused by an overheated furnace air duct, swept through a 13-family War Flousing unit at 722 South 15th Street making homeless more than 35 persons.
Five pieces of apparatus battled the blaze for more than two hours with off-shift firemen and auxiliaries aiding in fighting the fire which spread through the interior along the heat ducts.
Although none was injured, many had narrow escapes.
The first alarm was telephoned by a resident at 2:30 A. M. A box was struck immediately and a second alarm was radioed at 2:34 by the first chief to arrive. Damage was estimated at about $20,000.
Pacific Hero Joins S.F.F.D.
Thomas J. Powers, 28, veteran of Guadalcanal who saw action with the 164th Infantry, recipient of the Purple Heart, a Distinguished Service Medal and a Presidential unit citation, recently became the first veteran of World War II to enroll in the San Francisco Fire Department.
Powers was given a medical discharge after he was wounded in action against the Japanese. He qualified for a limited tenure appointment and has been assigned to Engine 28. After the war he will be permitted to take a civil service examination to fill one of the vacancies caused by deaths of firemen in service with the armed forces.
Navy Calls Municipal Department
When Navy fire fighters at the Hunters Point Drydock in San Francisco were unable to bring under control a fire aboard a submarine on the night of October 1, they pulled Box 6721 outside the reservation firehouse to summon San Francisco firemen.
For nearly three hours the combined forces, augmented later by the San Francisco deparment’s rescue squad, fought the fire before it was brought under control. The submarine was undergoing a routine overhaul when the fire broke out.
The Navy, which barred city policemen from the scene, said there were no casualties. The Navy did not immediately make an estimate of the damage
but set up a board of inquiry.
Gasoline—Cigarette—$ 100,000 Loss
Fire resulting from a combination of an unnamed truck driver, a lighted cigarette and punctured gasoline tank, on September 10, left 300 persons homeless and caused damage estimated at $100,000 to a three-story hotel at Des Rios, Sacramento (Calif.) suburb.
According to Sheriff Don Cox, the driver backed his truck into a pillar in the garage, damaging the tank. He got out to inspect it while holding a lighted cigarette and an explosion and fire followed, severely damaging four streetfloor stores and many rooms in the hotel before firemen from Sacramento and several nearby towns were able to control the blaze.
Another Hotel Fire Kills Two
Fire originating in the basement kitchen from unknown causes the night of September 23, completely destroyed the 400-room Weed hotel at Dunsmuir. Siskiyou County (Calif)—a division point on the Southern Pacific Railroad. Damage is estimated at $200,000. Two men were killed and two others seriously injured.
Firemen, policemen and volunteers were unable to enter the hotel to search for occupants.
Worcester Slaughter House Fire
One fireman was injured and damage to the extent of $200,000 resulted from a three-alarm fire that destroyed a fourstory brick building used as a slaughter house by the White, Pevey and Dexter Company at Worcester, Mass., on November 1. The injured fireman was James Ford of Engine 6. One section of the building was also used as a liquor storehouse for the Miscoe Spring Water Company and it was the loss of the liquor which ran the figure to $200,000.
All of the structure with the exception of a strip of the main building, and an ell, was destroyed by the flames. The fire started in the rear of the building in a spot employes said had not been visited by anyone for several hours.
Upon arrival at the scene Fire Chief Carl J. Kiessling immediately ordered a second alarm and a third alarm soon followed, moving practically all Worcester fire apparatus.
Twenty hose lines were laid into the fire, some from Shrewsbury Street under the tracks of the Boston & Albany Railroad, and others from Franklin Street. A railroad signal house adjacent to the fire continued to operate throughout the fire, although the blaze was often dangerously close.