Short Circuit Blamed for Philadelphia Four-Alarm Fire

Short Circuit Blamed for Philadelphia Four-Alarm Fire

A short circuit in the extension cord of an electric clock was blamed as the cause of a four-alarm fire that partially destroyed two buildings in Philadelphia on Sunday, March 31. The first alarm was received at 6:39 a.m., and was followed in rapid succession by additional alarms until the fourth was transmitted at 6:55 a.m. A complement of 16 engines, seven ladders, two rescue companies and auxiliary equipment responded.

The building of origin, located at 38 North Delaware Avenue was a five-storv brick-wood joist structure housing a paper and twine company. It backed up to, and was separated by a common brick wall from a four-story building of similar construction on 37 North Water Street. Unprotected openings between the buildings existed on the two upper floors, and on the second floor a fire door failed to close a 4 by 8-foot opening. During the fire the roofs of both buildings collapsed. Large stocks of paper supplies were damaged.

The extension cord of the electric clock had exposed wire which had come in contact with a copper bell wire extending through two wooden partitions and up two floors in the building of origin. Investigation determined that a 4-inch hole had been burned around the bell wire at the point of contact with the floors. The clock had stopped at 5:32 a.m.


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