PITTSBURG PLANT BURNED
Specially Written for FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING.
Another big fire visited Pittsburg last week when the two-story ironclad plant of the BairdSimonds Manufacturing company, built of wood sheathed in corrugated iron, was burned. It occupied one full block and was divided by a 15-ft. alley. It was one of the oldest there and had been erected about twenty-five years. It was bounded by Liberty avenue, opposite the freightshed of the Pennsylvania depot, Penn avenue, and Twenty-fifth and Twenty-sixth streets. The fire broke out from some unknown cause near the centre of the building and, when the lire department arrived, was burning furiously. In answer to the three alarms, seven engines of various makes were attached to the twenty-four double and single 6-in. hydrants that were available and distant from about 150 to 300 ft. from each other. One hydrant stream was thrown and fourteen from the engines, the whole fifteen being continuously in operation till some time after the flames were under control. About 1.4.000 ft. of Eureka hose were used, of which three lengths burst, the nozzles used being ordinary 1 -in. and 154-in. The average water-pressure was 80 lbs., and the gravity supply was sufficient to furnish good hydrant and engine streams. The street in front of the building was not more than 40 ft. in width, and for quite an hour the flames threatened to spread across it and on all four sides to the big and inflammable buildings adjoining. The wind changed from a light, to a high east wind and, in spite of all the firemen could do, fanned the flames eastwards and threatened everything as far as the Allegheny railway tracks and Twenty-eighth street. They bridged Liberty avenue, and for a considerable time the Pennsylvania freight station was in danger. Employes of the railway, however, kept a dozen streams constantly playing upon it; but. notwithstanding all their endeavors, names several times appeared on the roof of the buildings. On the Twentyfifth street side, opposite the Baird place was the extensive plant of the Pittsburg Screw and Bolt company, a huge structure of such an inflammable nature, with its oil-soaked floors an ’ beams, which it seemed no earthly power could save. The firemen accomplished the task, however, and saved it. as they did the tenement houses on the Spring alley side and in Penn avenue, within two blocks on each side of the fire and farther, as a saloon four blocks away caught from the sparks carried to its roof by the wind. Garden hose and bucket brigades did good service and extinguished every incioient fire that broke in these tenement blocks. The fire was the hottest the department had fought in years. The wooden part of the structure inside was soaked with oil and grease, and so full, besides, of combustible material that the flames burned high and fierce. The firemen attacked them from all sides. ‘The high wall along Liberty avenue was at first utilised to advantage; but the flames drove the men off. The pattern shop at the corner of Liberty avenue and Twenty-fifth street soon got ablaze and the flames burst through its roof and sides, which bulged dangerously out. In Spring alley the men had a hard battle to fight, with the flames roaring round them on all sides and above their heads. Inside the firemen were in danger from the falling rafters and iron-clad sheathing, and on the Twentyfifth street side a company, with hose stretched from Twenty-fourth street, protected the engine crew stationed directly in front of the burning building, which finally collapsed on the Twentyfifth street side, the whole west wall coming down with a run. The ladders were thrown to the ground; but the men simply moved off and fought the flames from another point, although at times they were obliged to hold the hose directly up and throw a vertical stream so that the water might fall on them and cool them off. The horses of truck E directly in front of the Liberty avenue side became more than uneasy under the severe scorching they were receiving. Spahr, the driver, could not turn back or round. All he could do was to make a dash through the block of flames that spanned Liberty avenue. lie breasted it and got through, but was badly scorched. At Twenty-sixth street is a splendid new building, the May-Stern company’s furniture warehouse. Its fate seemed sealed; but Chief Coates so distributed his men with their hose, that it escaped with a slightly scorched roof. Chief M. S. Humphreys was everywhere, and thanks to his skilful disposition of his forces, the intelligence of his subordinate officers, and the efficiency and good discipline of his men he got the fire under control within two hours— the busiest hours of the afternoon—and saved orte third of the building. He and his men were highly complimented for their good work by all the business people in this busiest centre. The loss was about $70,000—though others put it at nearly three times that amount. The insurance was $75,000.
Abilene. Tex., has taken over the $85,000 local waterworks plant.