Railway Freight House Fire at Portsmouth.
At Portsmouth, Va., a fire of unknown origin, accompanied by an explosion, destroyed the general warehouse of the Seaboard Air Line railway at the railroad terminals here to-day, entailing a loss of from $100,000 to $150,000, and resulting in the injury of four men, one, a fireman, being seriously hurt. Between fifty and sixty freight cars, many of them loaded, were also burned. The fire gained rapid headway, and for a time it seemed that all the buildings located in the Seaboard’s repair and construction yards would be consumed. Soon after the Portsmouth fire department arrived heavy explosions within the storehouse—a brick structure—followed by several smaller ones, sent bricks and burning timbers flying in every direction, greatly endangering the lives of the firemen and others. It is not known whether a tank of acid, a quantity of dynamite exploded, or, as the officials of the company think, a quantity of stored torpedoes. Its effects were felt in Norfolk, on the other side of the Elizabeth river, and within a radius of five miles. The loss on the burned storehouse, its contents—supplies for the entire Seaboard system—and the building and its general contents alone is placed at $90,000. The fire was confined to the storehouse and cars, the latter being ignited by burning timbers from the storehouse, hurled upon the roofs by the force of the explosion. The firemen were greatly handicapped in subduing the flames, it is said, because the department’s hose would not fit the railroad hydrants.
The convention and tournament of the North Carolina State Firemen’s association will be held at Asheville on July 6, 7, 8, 9. James D. McNeile, of Fayetteville, is president of the association. The secretary is John L. Miller, from whom may be obtained all information as to railway rates, prize lists and hotel accommodation.