Recent Important Fires Specially Reported

Recent Important Fires Specially Reported

Serious Oil Fire at Pittsburgh for a Time Threatened 20 Acre Plant—Vanderbilt Art Gallery with Priceless Paintings, Sculptures and Tapestries, Destroyed—Fire Record of Week

Bursting Light Globe Starts Oil Fire

The recent fire in which the warehouse of the Atlantic Refining Company, the largest plant of the Standard Oil Company in Pittsburgh, Pa., was destroyed, was the first four-alarm fire of the year in that city. The warehouse was a two-story brick building, about thirty years old, and was well provided with fire protection, having, according to the report of William E. Patterson, of the Bureau of Fire, fire hydrants connected with the city mains, good fire hose and fire extinguishers in all parts of the warehouse. The fire started at 3.05 p. m. from the breaking of an electric light globe and oil explosions quickly followed. A still alarm was sent immediately, but when the first apparatus arrived, under Chief William Bennett, the structure was almost wholly involved, so rapidly had the explosion spread the flames to all portions of the building. The weather conditions were cold and rainy and fortunately there was no wind. Had there been, Mr. Patterson reports, a serious conflagration could with difficulty have been averted; the burning structure being built close to a large number of tanks containing thousands of gallons of gasoline and heavy oils. The plant covers 20 acres, and the excellent diagram accompanying the report shows clearly the hazardous conditions that existed, as the 20 acres were covered with tanks, stills and buildings of different kinds. The utmost that could be done was done by Chief Bennett and District Chief Kelley in confining the fire to the place of origin. There were 107 men engaged and they employed 13 steamers, 8 of which were tractordrawn, 8 chemical combinations, 5 horse-drawn hose wagons, 3 motor aerial trucks, and a city service truck. Twenty 4-inch hydrants, single and double, were available and 10,800 feet of cotton rubber-lined hose were laid by the city department, one length bursting during the fire. There were 18 engine and 12 hydrant streams thrown from 1 1/8-inch nozzles. The water supply was from a direct pumping system, 8-inch street main and an 80-pound pressure was furnished. The department was at work for eighteen and a half hours, and by its success in preventing the flames from spreading to the adjacent buildings, saved a loss that would probably have extended into the hundreds of thousands. As it was, the warehouse, valued at $60,000, was a total loss and the damage to the contents, which were largely empty oil barrels, was estimated at $65,000.

Fire Destroys Fine New York Art Collections

Fire that started, it is supposed, by short circuiting of electric wires, recently destroyed the famous Vanderbilt gallery annex of the Federation of Fine Arts building and with a large number of valuable antiques, paintings, tapestries, sculptures and bronzes, whose worth in dollars is estimated at about $750,000, but that were invaluable in some cases, as they can not be replaced and must remain a loss to the world of art. An exhibition of pictures and home decorations under the auspices of the Architectural League was to have been opened the next day to the public and Howard Greenley, superintendent of the League, was engaged with the final details, assisted by workmen, when he heard an explosion which he attributed to a short circuit and the next moment flames swept into the gallery. All the contents of the rooms were of such a highly combustible nature that the decorators had to run for their lives and nothing could be saved. A fire station was directly opposite the building and in an instant Captain Murphy and his men had the apparatus out and were throwing water on the wall, while the alarm that had been instantly pulled brought Battalion Chief Curtin, who at once turned in a second and third alarm as the building was surrounded by costly structures and the Academy building is occupied by studios, and fully 200 students were at work in their classes. The three-story annex was totally destroyed and other portions of the building were seriously damaged. It is thought that the damage to the property may be over $1,000,000. At one time the lives of a number of firemen were endangered by falling walls and Chief Curtin’s call to “beat it!” alone saved them.

Diagram of Atlantic Refinery Plant, Pittsburgh, Pa., Showing Burned AreaBurning of Vanderbilt Art Studios, New York City

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