SOME NEW YORK FIRES.
BEFORE a fierce fire could be gotten under control in the five-story iron front building at No, 78 Grand street, two firemen were seriously injured and property to the amount of at least $500,000 was destroyed. The Grand street building is connected by arches and bridges with another five-story building fronting on Greene street,and both are occupied by C. A, Auffmordt & Co., commission dealers in silks, kid gloves, and imported dry goods. It was shortly after 8 o’clock p. m., on the evening of April 14, that one of the clerks in the sorting-room on the first floor saw smoke curling upwards from the flooring. He found it came from the boiler room in the cellar, where he was met by a wall of fire and smoke. After warning his fellow clerks, he turned in an alarm from the corner of Greene and Grand streets and another from that at the comer of Greene, and Broome streets. The men of No. 13 company were at once on the ground, and, as they dragged the hose into the sorting room,where the clerk had been putting the books away, they collided violently with him, the brass nozzle of the hose striking him on the head and knocking him down. lie crawled towards the entrance and, on reaching the door, a column of flame shot through the elevator shaft and caused a general re treat. In five minutes the entire west wing was in a blaze and, the safety of the whole block being threatened, two more alarms were turned in. Chief Bonner devoted his whole attention to the Grand street front. A “ hurry call” had brought out 24 engines and two water towers; but the firemen were badly handicapped for the first half hour, owing to the difficulty of approaching the building on account of the heat and smoke, which rendered a water curtain a thing greatly to be desired. Company No. ts,managed to raise a short ladder on the Grand street side,on which Firemen John T. Gallagher and James McNulty climbed with the hose. They had gotten about half way up when a solid sheet of flames burst out from the second story windows,and with it came a shower of broken glass and red hot embers, bathing the two men in flames and smoke. They held on as long as they could till the top of their ladder,twelve feet above them,took fire from the flames which roared through its rungs; but the men drenched it with a quick turn of the hose and did not give way an inch. The windows of the fourth and fifth floors were blown out a moment later, and finally the composition cornice at the edge of the roof melted, and its fragments rained down upon the two men; but, in spite of the warning shouts of their comrades, they did not move from their post until the reserve water tower arrived. Then, after half an hour’s terrible exposure to flame and smoke, they were carried down the ladder. Gallagher’s face, where the heat had scorched it and the flame singed it, was swollen until it was almost unrecognizable. His bands were cut. and his helmet was dented by falling glass and woof, and he was almost unconscious. McNulty was partially overcome by smoke, and his hands had to be wrenched from their hold on the ladder. Both men were sent to their homes.
“ 1 hat was the bravest piece of endurance I’ve seen in my time,” their captain said,when the men were taken down froiv the ladder. It was 10o’clock before the fire was under control, and until that time the firemen were out of sight of the crowds outside the fire lines, so thick was the smoke which arose from the burning building.
Engineer Munson and several assistants, who have charge of a small electric plant which is situated in a single-story brick building at the west end of the Grand Central yard and supplies the current to the lights in the railway station, were at work in the building at half-past 2 o’clock on the morning of April 9, when the central arch of the boiler,which is directly over the fire, collapsed, and the flames, ascending to the roof through the ruins, set fire to the building. A fire alarm was turned in, but before the engines could get to work the building and plant were practically destroyed. The damage is estimated at $1,000. As a system of electric fire alarms has not yet been installed in the newest part of the annexed district, and there is no telephone connection between Westchester avenue and the nearest fire company, that at Morris Park racetrack, half a mile away, the sergeant of police who discovered a fire in a tailor’s store on the Main street corner—a small frame building—had to notify the firemen by a foot-messenger. As a result, nearly $3,000 damage was done. The Westchester people are now debating the urgent necessity of a better fire alarm system than that which Shank’s mare affords.
The number of fires and alarms of fire in this city from midnight on April 8 to the corresponding period on April 15 was 53. _