Serious Situation at Shenandoah.
One of the most important business centers of the coal mining section of Pennsylvania, Shenandoah, was threatened with serious loss when fire broke out in the business center of the town, shortly after 9 o’clock on the evening of December 10. The fire, of unknown origin, apparently started in the cellar of a hardware store; a passerby noticed the smoke issuing from a lower window and immediately pulled the nearest box. When the firemen arrived, the flames were coming through the floor into the store, and by the time they had gained entrance to the premises, the entire lower portion of the building was ablaze. In common with all the towns in the coal regions, Shenandoah has suffered severely from lack of water, owing to the long dry spell and every night, at 7 p. m., the water supply is shut off until 6 o’clock the next morning. Consequently, the firemen had to wait 45 minutes before the water came, during which period the fire had things all its own way. With the wind blowing 35 miles and hour and a temperature of about JO above zero, the condition of the firemen waiting for that water, may be imagined. When the large steamer was all ready to work, the cap of the first fire plug, with which a connection was attempted, blew off, another hydrant was sought, but it had only two 2’4-inch connections and as the engine could only couple to one of them, the water supply was not enough to feed the engine. In the meantime, the buildin which the fire started, a three story wooden structure, 30×80 feet, built about 35 years ago, with wood and plaster partitions, had become a mass of flames from top to botton and the fire had spread to a saddler’s shop next door and a jewelry store, both of which were badly damaged, as well as an adjoining drug store, a saloon, a frame dwelling and a bakery that was located in a three-story brick building. This building stayed the progress of the fire, which might otherwise have wiped out the entire town. Under Chief Engineer James Wood, to whom this journal is indebted for details, the volunteer fire force made a brave fight against the flames. The apparatus available included two steam fire engines, Button make, a Holloway chemical and a Seagrave combination wagon and a Seagrave hook and ladder truck. There were four hydrants in the neighborhood, all 4-inch double pattern, set about 300 feet apart on an 8-inch main. The street in front of the property was 70 feet wide. The water pressure at hydrants was 60 pounds and two hydrant and three engine streams were thrown, the maximum number of streams used being six, through 1 %inch nozzles. Eastman nozzles were employed. About 2,900 feet of cotton, rubber-lined hose was laid, four lengths of which burst during the fire. The water pressure at the hydrants, furnished by o-ravity, was 60 pounds. The loss on buildings and contents is placed by our informant at $38,000. While the fire was at its height, a 40-ft. ladder, slipping on the ice, fell and struck President William Schultz of the Rescue Hook and Ladder Company, on the head, inflicting an ugly wound. A serious consequence of the fire was the complete exhaustion of the local dams, which will compel the collieries to close until they can arrange for a water supply and this throws hundreds of men out of work. As it was, the water was shut off at the borough line as soon as the fire was under control, so that a sufficient quantity could be accumulated in the resrvoir to meet the day’s domestic demands. The firemen were then supplied with water from the accumulated reserve of a local brewery. Shenandoah may thank the superhuman work of her firemen and the providential presence of a brick building, for the preservation of the town from complete elimination.