Slow Alarm Causes Loss In Columbia.
On January 5th, Columbia. S. C., was subjected to a disastrous fire, the damage by which might have been greatly minimized had the alarm been promptly given when the fire was discovered. But it was another case of procrastination, and the city suffered a loss of probably $150,000. The property burned ineluded one block on the west side of Gervais street. Most of the burned buildings were of wood construction, one and two stories in height, being from ten to twenty-flive years old, Some of these buildings were covered with sheet iron, but all had wood partitions. The fire started in the heater-pit at about 9:35 in the morning, and a telephone alarm, which was the first knowledge the firemen had of the fire, was received at headquarters at 10 a. m., and a box alarm came in about the same time. The delay had been caused by the employees of the building attempting to extinguish the fire without calling upon the fire department, binding this impossible, they decided, twentyfive minutes after the fire was discovered, to summon aid. In response to the alarm, one Webb motor, one Anterican-La France combinuation chemical and hose motor, one Gleason Baily truck, one chemical engine, three Steamers, including a second-size Metropolitan and two Silsbys, turned out. Eight six-inch double hydrants were found conveniently located, from two hundred to four hundred feet apart, to which hose was attached, four thousand two hundred feet of which were laid. The streets at this point are one hundred feet wide, through which two eight-inch water mains run, with a hydrant pressure of seventyfive pounds. Six engine streams and two hydrant streams were maintained for one hour and a half before the flames were under control. Chief W. J. May ordered three 1-inch, four 1 1-8 inch and one 1 l-4 inch nozzles used. The water system is gravity with standpipe and direct pumping. There was a 40-mile an hour wind blowing which considerably retarded the work of the firemen who labored vigorously to confine the flames to the original starting point. Notwithstanding this, the Gibbs Machinery Company suffered extensively and several other buildings were partly consumed. It was in the Gibbs Machinery building that the fire originated, and upon the arrival of the department, the office and garage were both burning from cellar to roof. Another handicap which the department encountered. was badly torn up streets, which delayed the fire apparatus in rolling to the scene of the fire. The value of the property involved is placed at nearly $300,000, but the exact loss has not yet been fixed. The contents consisted largely of machinery, automobiles, groceries, fruits and grain. The accompanying diagram shows the location of the buildings involved.
Montaville, Ore., is to have fire protection this year. A tire station is now in the course of construction.