Structures that are Built to Burn
Amusement Resorts Include Most Inflammable Types of Construction—Suggested Methods of Handling Fires
IF there is a more troublesome fire to handle, involving large quantities of wood, than the lumber yard fire, it is the amusement resort fire.
Such resorts, being usually used for but a short seaon of the year, and hence producing revenue only for period of a few months, do not warrant expensive contraction. As a result the very cheapest and the most highly inflammable materials are employed in their constraction.
Unlike lumber piles, the structures found in amusement resorts reach great heights with the residt that once a fire starts the department has an extremely difficult task on its hands. Flimsy frame structures, sheathed with wood, and a considerable amount of sub-structure involving the use of papier-mache, painted canvas and similar materials, make a very fast spreading fire once
If the resort is located on the water front, the additional hazard of having many of the buildings set on spiles, together with boardwalks running through the entire resort, add to the fast travel of a fire and the difficulties the department has to face.
The season of operation, while being short, is usually very busy and careful housekeeping is the exception. Careless use of cigarettes, cigars and matches often provile the start of many such blazes.
Where roller coaster and similar amusement devices are at hand, great quantities of waste paper will be found beneath them on the ground. It requires only a carelessly tossed cigarette over the side of one of the roller coaster cars to start the blaze going.
Suggested Methods for Handling Fires
The handling of the average resort fire requires big streams and plenty of them. But the resorts are either o located as to be on the outskirts of the town or away from the maximum protection of the local department. In such cases, the department usually has to operate at a severe handicap, for the number of companies immediately available is small. To call additional companies means having them travel considerable distance, and if roadways are at all congested with traffic, the resort would likely be wiped out before sufficient help could reach the scene. Thus it is a question of operating on the fire with limited facilities, with the hope of holding and extinguishing it.
Big streams are absolutely necessary. One large stream is worth half a dozen smaller ones. The height of the structures encountered, the large area which must lie covered, and the intensity of the heat all make such streams indispensable.
One pumper can well supply one large stream, which may be manipulated with play pipe and stick or other suitable holder.
Operations should be carried from the lee side of the fire, if at all possible. Stretch in two lines from each of the first two companies, putting on inch and a half tips, one company to take each side of fire. Order sufficient pressures to get 70 to 90 pounds at the nozzles. With these streams, it is possible to sweep over a large area. It does not require great volume of water to cool the burning materials off, but rather a quick dash. If it is found that the heat is getting intense at the point of operation of the department, and there is a possibility of fire jumping across the company’s to adjacent property, streams may occasionally be directed vertically. When so directed, if the fire is being driven by the wind toward the companies, the spray from the streams will be carried by the wind and will aid in wetting down exposed property. Remember, it is a question of fast work at a fire of this type. The damage is usually done in a half hour or less. The success of the department’s efforts are likely to be determined within the first five minutes of operation.
After the fire has been wiped over by heavy streams it will be found that a great deal of the fire has been darkened. However, the fire is by no means out, for if permitted to burn beneath roofs for a few minutes it will again burst forth in all its fury and the department will again be faced with its original task.
After heavy streams have been gotten into operation at the lee of the fire, attention will have to be given toward getting smaller streams into the various structures or under them, to finish up the work which the large streams start.
Use Deck Guns
If the department has wagon pipes available, they should be brought into play at the start, for they afford a means of readily directing streams in all directions and make possible the use of high pressure not safe where hand lines without proper holders are employed. In placing the wagon pipes they should not be placed immediately in the path of the fire, but on the edges of the apparent path of travel so that in the case of an emergency, they can be backed out of danger. One wagon pipe operating from each side of the path of travel of the fire, at the lee end of the burning property, will likely be able to hold the fire front gaining further headway in this direction. As noted above, streams can be directed vertically or nearly so, to aid in wetting down exposed property.
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Structures Built to Burn
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While the deck guns are in operation smaller lines must of necessity be brought into play to check the fire from rekindling or from breaking out again through structures which have been wet down on the outside.
Where grandstands are ablaze, it is a question of spraying the largest possible area in the shortest possible time. Here again large streams with high pressures are required. Even though the streams break up before they hit the fire, they will prove comparatively effective. Furthermore, the presence of the spray in the air before it strikes the burning planks tends to cool the heat waves from the fire and thus aids in protecting exposed property.
There is an another advantage in using heavy streams in fires of this type in addition to wetting down the exposed property as well as the burning structures, and that is in the protection of the men. Where streams are directed vertically or nearly so, the heavy spray may serve to make the position of the men tenable.
In killing fires beneath boardwalks or piers planks can usually be quickly pried up with claw tool, axe, crow bar or other appliances and streams gotten in operation beneath the planks. It will be necessary to use bent cellar pipes or Hart or Baker pipes. This applies particularly where the boardwalk is over water.
If the boardwalk is over the beach, it is quite an easy matter to get streams down low enough to operate under the boardwalk.
In the case of piers, it may be necessary, as noted above, to pry up some of the planks and get cellar pipes into operation to kill fire burning beneath.
To sum up, fast work and big streams, are the two essentials in handling the average amusement resort fire.
State Firemen to Meet in Greeley, Col.—The Colorado State Firemen’s Association will meet in Greeley, July 31-August 2. E. D. Boelter is chairman of the convention committee.