Smoke Signal Plant Smoked Out!
There were some anxious moments recently at the factory of the Superior Signal Company, South River, N. J., manufacturers of smoke bombs used by firemen, when the worst forest fire in recent history of Central New Jersey swept through 150 acres of nearby brush and woods in Madison Township. The one-story cinderblock plant was exposed to the heat and smoke and firemen were forced to play water over it until the danger of its ignition had passed.
The fire was fought on and off for 36 hours, by 35 fire companies, hampered by lack of water, unseasonal heat and humidity. At the outset, under the direction of Chief Frank Powell of the South Old Bridge Fire Department, the four-acre fire was believed controlled and left to be finished off by the N J. Forest Service.
However, the next day it was fanned to life by a high wind, and the South Old Bridge volunteers were again called. Soon a genera! alarm was sounded, bringing fire fighters from a forty mile area. The volunteers fought valiantly in 100-degree heat to prevent extension of the fire to houses and other structures, using tank trucks to haul water from Duhernal Lake.
The stubborn fire was finally controlled after two days hard work but it again broke out soon after local companies had returned to their quarters, and another general alarm was sounded. The N.J. wardens kept fire apparatus and men at the scene for two weeks before rains finally doused the smoldering underbrush and peat moss.
At least 50 buildings, many of them new homes, were threatened by the fire, but only one, an unoccupied summer dwelling, was destroyed.