Serious Fire in Elmira.

Serious Fire in Elmira.

CHIEF JOHN H. ESPEY, ELMIRA N. Y.

Fire that for a time threatened the heart of the business district of Elmira, MN. Y., destroyed the entire building in which is located the store of the Eastern Consolidated Distilling Company at an early hour on December 16. It was but a few minutes after the alarm was sent in that a series of muffled explosions were heard inside of the distilling company’s store These were followed by a louder and sharper report that smashed the front window of the store. The flames seemed at once to envelop the entire store. Among the first to arrive was Chief Engineer Espey, who was followed by the apparatus from No. 1 fire station on Market street. The other departments arrived in quick succession. By the time the firemen had their hose laid and the engine steaming the building was in a mass of flame. The fire must have originated in the rear of the building as the most of the fire was confined to that part at the start. The building is a four-story structure. The fact that the three stories are separated by heavy fire walls helped the firemen in their task. With remarkable speed they laid their lines of hose and had great streams of water pouring into the flames. Lines of hose were laid from Carroll street through Bookshop lane to the rear of the building. With these the firemen did effective work in keeping the flames conled to the one store. Only a few feet away, but :parated from the burning building, is the main ore of the Barker, Rose & Clinton Company, id just across the alley is the oil house of the irdware company. Sparks in huge columns dropped on the latter building The worst of the tire was in the rear of 323 East Water street The firemen climbed to a bridge connecting the main store of the Barker, Rose & Clinton company with the Water street blink and played several streams down into the flames. There was no hope of saving the distilling company’s store so the Bremen turned their efforts toward keeping the flames inside the building. Had the fire spread, the heart of Elmira’s business district would now be in ashes. Streams were poured in from all sides. On Water street the big standpipe was erected and shot water into the blaze. Aside from this many other streams were sent into the flames from the Water street side. In the rear five or six streams were at work. The tlarnes were so fierce in the rear that to get at them was impossible. The firemen were threatened with falling timbers, glass and electric wires. The weather was intensely cold and the spray from the water froze on the coats of the firemen. But they stuck to their task. The danger of the west wall of the building falling on the low stores adjoining was imminent. However, it held fast, and no damage resulted from that source. At 4 :30 o’clock the fire was under control as far as spreading to the adjoining buildings was concerned. All of the stores were flooded with water. It has proven almost a tradition that the fires that visit Elmira occur on a cold night. The firemen have a great deal of praise due to them on account of the way in which they handled the tire. The origin of the blaze is unknown and the loss has not been figured out.

REAR VIEW OF RUINS ELMIRA BUILDING.

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