THE FIRE IN THE NEW YORK TRIBUNE BUILDING.
THE recent fire in the New York Tribune building did comparatively little damage, and whatever loss took place was confined altogether to three rooms. The blaze was fierce while it lasted, owing to the fact that the flames were fed by large quantities of paper, and raged like a furnace under forced draught. The three rooms adjoined one another; two of them were separated only by an office partition, composed mostly of glass; and the room in which the trouble started was rented by the Journal, and was in charge of a young clerk, whose lighted cigar or cigarette—not a defective electric wire, as has been alleged—was the cause of the blaze. The fire resisting powers of the Tribune building have been twice severely tested, and each time successfully. On the present occasion the temperature in the burning room was so high that the consistency of a solid marble mantelpiece was entirely destroyed, and the material could be crumbled in the hand like a lump of salt; yet the floor of the office immediately overhead was not even charred. The firemen broke down some of the firebrick ceiling immediately over the fireplace, to see for themselves if the flames had penetrated to the next story. The beams of the floor above showed through the opening, unscorched and unblistered, though a great spout of flame had played upon that spot with the fierce intensity of some mighty blowpipe. The fact that the night was hot, and the windows and transoms were open, created a draught of great force, and made the test of the building’s fireproof construction many times more severe than it would have been subjected to in cold weather, with all the windows shut down. The building could hardly have been put to a more severe test of its fire resisting powers, yet it came out comparatively unscathed. The sixth floor was reached by tongues of flame spouting from the windows of the fifth and laying hold of the wooden sash of the sixth floor windows, but these were easily extinguished before they did appreciable damage, and the flames reached no higher. The fourth floor was hurt by the water and smoke only. In fact, but for the great volume of smoke and steam which poured through corridors and elevator shaft, nearly all the tenants on every other floor in the building might have continued without the slighest fear or inconvenience. It was the same some years ago when a fire broke out in the city department of the paper, and did not stop until it had burned up all the furniture, licked the walls clean, and made its way clear to the solid brick walls which fixed its limits. On that occasion not even the smoke was troublesome to men working on the same floor, and tenants on floors below knew nothing about it until it was all over,or knew of it only by running across the firemen on the stairs. Insurance experts and members of this city’s fire department are highly satisfied with the “behavior” of the building under fire, and agree that there are very few buildings indeed in New York or else where which could have stood such a test half so well.