RECENT IMPORTANT FIRES
As Specially Reported to this Journal from all Sections of the Country Eight-InchjWall Imperils Firemen at Bethlehem Frame Buildings Saved, irTSpite of Proximity Hospital Fire at Jefferson City
Eight-Inch Wall Puts Firemen in Jeopardy
The recent fire in the George Riegel Furniture establishment, at Bethlehem, Pa., is said to have been one of the most difficult to handle, in the history of the department. One obstacle to the firemen’s work was the dense volume of smoke, as shown in one of the illustrations. Another was the fact that the brick walls were only eight inches thick, which placed the men in constant jeopardy. The building, of brick and wood construction, two stories high, and covering an area 45 x 190 feet, was situated in the central part of the city on a fifty-foot street and was 11 years old. The fire started in the cellar from defective electric lighting wires and an automatic signal gave the alarm at 4:30 p. m.
The department under Chief A. E. Anderson, responded promptly, but found the entire cellar a mass of flames with dense clouds of smoke pouring from it. The sixty firemen used one steamer, three triple combination motor pumpers, three chemical combinations, and one aerial ladder truck. Nine 4-inch hydrants, 500 feet apart, were available, with an average pressure of 30 pounds. The water system is gravity and the street main 8-inch size, and the chief reports that the low pressure was a great hindrance to the work of the firemen. A turret pipe was brought into use and two hydrant and eight engine streams were thrown, making eleven streams at one time. When it became evident that existing conditions made it impossible to save the structure, Chief Anderson directed his principal efforts toward saving the neighboring buildings which were in serious peril because of their nearness to the furniture store, as will be seen in the smaller illustration, and the fact that the fire was stopped after eight hours at the place of origin, is evidence of the skill and energy of the department. The building, valued at $60,000, and contents at $40,000, were both a total loss.