The Water Tower Frozen.

The Water Tower Frozen.

ONE of the most troublesome fires the New York Fire Department has had to fight for a long time was combated by the firemen of fourteen engine companies early Friday morning of last week. The fire was in a big five-story factory at Gansevoort and West streets, within a stone’s throw of the North River. Next door to this, along Gansevoort street, two hundred persons were sleeping in the Manhattan lodging house.

The lire was discovered at 1:15 A. M. A light reflected on the walls of the buildings on West street aroused the suspicion of a policeman. He went to the roof of the Manhattan lodging house at 116 Gansevoort street to look over the surrounding territory, and discovered the flames. Another policeman gave the alarm and the first descended to alarm the lodgers. There were 200 of these and they were removed with safety.

The fourteen engines which responded to the three alarms that were sent out were slow in arriving, all having to wade through snow drifts of greater or lesser depth, and two hours elapsed before they subdued the flames.

Only the shell of the upper part of the factory remained when the fire was put out. When the struggle was over, the water tower, which had borne the brunt of it, was crusted so thickly over with ice that an engine had to be put to work to thaw the coating before it could be lowered. Each fireman wore a coat of ice nearly an inch thick, and two were disabled, the hands of one being frozen, while another’s leg was broken by a fall on the slippery pavement.

The freezing of the water tower is said to be unprecedented in the annals of the department. Many of the firemen were frost bitten. The one whose hands were frozen was John Wallace, driver of Engine 50. Fireman John Worth of the same company was the one whose leg was broken.

Altogether the firemen thought their experience was worse than that of the night of the blizzard of 1888. The loss by the fire was estimated at $55,000.

A fire at 118 Ridge street. New York, last Sunday demonstrated the value of Chief Bonner’s suggestions to the Tenement House Commission. Tlie building was constructed, in a measure, on tlielinesof the ideal tenement house outlined by the chief. The ground floor of the the house is occupied by two stores, a bakery and meat market. Between the stores and the upper floors of the tenement there is no communication except by way of the street, apian which, according to the statements of Chief Bonner, would prevent half the tenement-house destruction that occurs if it were generally carried out. The fire started in the cellar below the bakery. The store was full at the time and an alarm Was given. The tenants were hurried from the building and the fire was extinguished. It was found that from the first floor, separated from the blazing bakery by only about t welve feet, ran a lath and plaster airshaft, extending to the roof. The smoke was pouring through it, and, as a precautionary measure, Capt. O’Hearn ordered a third alarm sent in. The engines arrived just in time to save Foreman McKavanagh of Engine Company No. 15, who had been cut off on the stairs by the smoke. He was guided out of the rear entrance and through the butcher’s shop into the street by Lieut, Autenreith. The fire was under control in twenty minutes.

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