Perth Amboy Department Saves Cartridge Plant

Perth Amboy Department Saves Cartridge Plant

A night watchman of the Lehigh Valley Railroad discovered a fire in the one-story frame building housing the white lead department of the White Lead Company’s plant in Perth Amboy, N. J., on May 16, according to an account furnished by Chief Harry Tooker of the Perth Amboy fire department. The alarm was turned in at 2 a. m. When Chief Tooker arrived, he saw that the building was doomed and it was a case of saving the adjoining structures, the principal of which were those of the United States Cartridge Company, and for this work Chief Tooker devoted most of his attention and succeeded in confining the fire in the building involved. This structure covered an area of 250 x 350 feet, standing back about 1,000 feet from the street, there being four 4-inch double hydrants available, two in the yard and two in the street, the pressure varying from 20 to 40 pounds. Eight engine streams were thrown with nozzles of 1 1/4 inches, the apparatus consisting of two American-LaFrance 750-gallon and one Boyd 900-gallon triple combination pumpers, one American-LaFrance 600-gallon steamer and two supply wagons, one motor and one horse-drawn. In all 5,000 feet of hose were laid, four lengths of which burst during the fire. The white lead in the plant was packed in clay jars about six inches in diameter and six inches high, which were filled with lead and acid and piled in layers to about 20 feet in height and then covered with tan bark. After the ruins had cooled, according to Chief Tooker, four hydrant streams were brought into use so that the men could get to the lead containers as they were located too close to the burning building to do this before. The company, according to the chief, can salvage about half of the white lead. The fire department worked 7 1/2 hours, after which the plant department of the United Lead Company took hold and it was fully ten days before the fire was entirely extinguished. The loss on the buildings, which were valued at $350,000, was total and that on the contents, valued at $1,000,000, was about $500,000.

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