The Mobile Conflagration

The Mobile Conflagration

On the first page cover of this issue of FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING is shown a graphic view of the destruction wrought by the fire which destroyed practically all of the poorer section of Mobile, Ala., recently, and gave the firemen one of the hardest fights they have had in the history of the department. Great credit is due the department, under command of Chief Geo. W. Myrick, that, with the inflammable nature of the buildings involved and the high wind prevailing they were able to save the better portion of the city from destruction. The burned section was largely composed of small one-story houses, occupied by railroad and shipyard employes. The fire started in a small back yard of a corner grocery store and butcher shop, in close proximity to which, some kerosene was stored. Some of the buildings were about 50 years old and practically all were constructed of light pine lumber which, says Henry D. Pillichody, secretary of the department, in his report, “burned like a haystack.” The fire was started by burning trash in the yard and the high wind blowing scattered the sparks which quickly ignited the combustible material on every side. The exploding kerosene tanks added to the trouble. It was then 2.40 p. m. and an alarm was pulled at 4.45. The department responded promptly and found the fire under full headway with three buildings already involved and flames being spread rapidly by the high north west wind. There were 65 regulars and a number of volunteers, employing an American Metropolitan steam engine. An ample number of hydrants was available as there was one on every corner and 32 streams were thrown at one time only one of which, however, was an engine stream. Of the 17,950 feet of rubber-lined hose used, 2,900 feet were destroyed. The tire was stopped in 3½ hours leaving 20 blocks in ruins and only the heroic efforts of the department prevented it from spreading to the more substantially constructed part of the city. The loss on propertv was estimated at $400,000 and on contents at $150,000.

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