Store Fire at Terre Haute, Ind.
The largest fire in Terre Haute, Ind., in a number of years took place during March, when three of the largest stores in the city were destroyed, with a loss of about $200,000. They were the wholesale drug store of the E. H. Bindley Drug Company, the hardware store of the Freitag-Weinhardt Company, and the clothing store of Thorman & Scholoss, located in three-story brick and wood buildings in the center of the retail district. The fire was caused by sweeping compound thrown in the cellar with sweepings. It started about 9:30 P. M., and the fire department was called on a still alarm. When Assistant Chief J. F. Nugent arrived the fire had gained such headway that it was impossible to enter the building, and he sent in a second alarm. When Chief Harry Bledsoe arrived he sent in a third alarm, which called the entire department. The cellars of the three buildings were soon in flames. There were a number of explosions in the cellar of the drug store. The fire spread to the roofs through elevator and light shafts. Steam pipe holes left open caused the flames to spread to adjoining stores. The large network of electric wires in the rear of the block hindered the work of the department, and it was not until fully an hour after the fire was discovered that the blaze was under control. Time after time the firmen seemed to have the fire extinguished, only to see a mass of flames burst out elsewhere. Within ten minutes of its discovery it was sweeping through all the stores. Only the walls of the buildings remained. The water pressure was so low that none of the streams reached roofs of the three buildings. Three engines, two Continental and one Clapp & Jones, an aerial and two service trucks, and six combination hose wagons were in service, and had fifteen 1 to l 1/4-inch streams on the fire through 7,000 feet of hose. A deluge set was also used. A direct pumping water system supplied sufficient water through a 12-inch main and 12 hydrants of various sizes.