PHILADELPHIA GRAIN ELEVATOR BLAZE DEVELOPS INTO 5-ALARM FIRE
Workmen Trapped on Roof Just Escape in Time—Flying Embers Endanger Nearby Homes and Tracks of Pennsylvania Railroad
FIRE completed that which a crew of workmen planned to do conservatively. An alarm was sounded at 9:27 a.m. to fight a fire which developed in a grain elevator made of corrugated iron and wood and which was being demolished by fifty workmen. Brisk northwest breezes fanned the flames into the proportions of a five-alarm blaze.
When the fire department arrived, the fire had involved the entire building. Luckily only four firemen were injured—none seriously.
Workmen on the roof heard the flames crackling beneath them. The fire escapes had been removed in the early stage oi the wrecking process. Remembering that there was a painter’s scaffold, the men made quick use of it. The platform descended to the ground with a load of the men and then returned lor another load. All about the flames were scorching the ropes and it was merely a question as to whether the men would reaeii the ground before the ropes burned through. But the men won.
The corrugated iron melted easily in the intense heat of the fire. The heat from the flames cracked many windows in the nearby buildings; forty-one structures in the vicinity were pain; • scorched, but the fire did not break out in anv of these buildings. The rubberoid coverings on some of the roofs melted and ran down the side of the buildings like water.
Embers from the elevator set fire to a number of ties of the nearby tracks of the Pennsylvania Railroad. A switch engine plied back and forth sprinkling water on the ties of the eight tracks that passed by the elevator.
The five alarms called out nine chief officers, thirty -four company officers and 265 men. In addition there were fifteen American-LaFrance pumpers, five Seagrave pumpers, one Ahrens-Fox pumper; one Seagrave, two American-LaFrance and three Boyd aerial ladders; one Mack, one commercial truck and one American-LaFrance pipe wagon and an AmericanLaFrance rescue wagon.
There were many hydrants available and the average spacing between the hydrants was two hundred feet. Two high pressure streams were used and twenty-three other streams. The hydrants were supplied bv a twelve-inch and twenty-inch main. Turrett pipes and play pipe outfits were used.
Ross B. Davis, duel of the fire department was in command at the fire. Two hours after the fire started only a few charred embers were left to mark the site of the grain elevator.
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