Taunton Fire Brick Works Burned
The plant of the Presbrey Stove-lining Company and the Presbrey Fire Brick Works on Somerset Avenue, Taunton, Mass., were practically destroyed by fire, which started on the roof of one of the buildings. These were a series of two-story wooden structures, all joined together in the form of a “U,” and which covered approximately four acres. Two watchmen were stationed at the plant and one of them making his rounds at 10:45 P. M. noticed flames which apparently came from the roof and were eating their way to the ground floor. As he threw open the door leading to the stock room a loud explosion occurred and flames seemed to spread with great rapidity from building to building. The alarm was pulled from a street box and when the department, under the command of Chief Fred A. Leonard, consisting of 95 men, arrived the entire building was in flames. When the first companies arrived two more alarms were sounded, calling out all the apparatus in the city, which consisted of two Ahrens-Fox pumpers, three combination wagons, one aerial and two city service trucks, all motor driven. Two double and two 4-way hydrants were available, spaced from 300 to 500 feet apart with pressure at 100 pounds. Twelve hydrant and two engine streams were thrown, the nozzles being 1 1/8 inches in size and the street mains being 12 inches. Of the 5,300 feet of hose laid one length was burned. The buildings, which ranged from one to three stories in height, had no fire stops, according to Chief Leonard, and the fire was shut off at the office building, which was a part of the main building. A large wooden stable at the south end was also saved by the department. It is thought that the fire might have originated from sparks from an engine of the New Haven Railroad, which passes close by the plant. Four of the brick kilns, which were supposed to be fireproof, were destroyed, the supposition being that heat from the burning buildings was too strong to be resisted by the walls which surrounded them. The brick concern had been located on Somerset Avenue since 1866, having been in operation in Taunton since 1836. The value of the property was placed at $80,000, with a loss of $75,000, and that of the contents at $50,000, with a loss of $40,000.
Fire losses in Great Britain during February are estimated at £350,000 as compared with £370,000 in January last and £694,000 in February of last year. A considerable decrease was noticeable in the fire waste of the two months of the current year as compared with practically any two months of 1920 or 1919. There were few large fire losses in February, 1921, and only two that were serious.