Toronto Fights Three-Alarm Warehouse Fire*
Two large warehouses at the corner of Jarvis and Adelaide streets in Toronto, Canada, were destroyed and other property damaged by a stubborn fire that threatened the entire block and gave the city’s fire-fighters over eight hours strenuous work. The fire, of undetermined origin, was discovered when an explosion blew out windows of three-story structures housing a printing plant and produce warehouse on the Jarvis street side shortly after midnight.
The fire, of undetermined origin, was discovered when an explosion blew out windows of three-story structures housing a printing plant and produce warehouse on the Jarvis street side shortly after midnight. The buildings were over 100 years old and were constructed of wood and brick, with heavy wood beams.
When the first section of firemen arrived from the Lombard street fire station, only a block from the fire, the entire district was filled with smoke and flames were issuing from second floor windows.
District Chief Taylor quickly ordered a second alarm, which was transmitted from high pressure box 24, Jarvis and King streets. This brought additional forces, together with Deputy Chief Albert Steen, District Chiefs William Culling, James Stevens and Eugene Torpy.
Two hose lines were taken into the building from Jarvis and two from the Adelaide street sides, while other streams were directed into the structures from the street level. An effort to use aerial ladders was complicated by the numerous high tension power lines and transformers located close to the burning buildings.
The first alarm was received at 12:48 A.M. and by 1:15 A.M. twenty streams were being operated on the fire from every vantage point. This heavy concentration of water, together with the weighty contents of some of the occupancies, threatened to collapse floors and walls and firemen were ordered from the structures, to fight the fire from the exteriors. The north wall of the brass foundry and part of the printing plant, on the Adelaide street side, bulged under the tons of water, and firemen were ordered withdrawn to a safe distance by Deputy Chief Steen. Shortly afterwards the roof and a part of the wall caved in, at which time the fire gained added headway. A third alarm was sent in by Chief Steen at this time (1:22 A.M.) which brought Fire Chief Peter Herd and reinforcements. Additional lines were brought into play from adjoining roofs and the fire was confined to the two main buildings.
By 3:00 A.M., over 100 firemen and nineteen pieces of apparatus were operating at the scene. At about 4:45 A.M. the blaze was under control and some companies were returned to their stations. At 8:30 A.M. a single hose truck and crew remained and this force picked up at about 4:00 P.M.
Only one fireman was injured, and he not seriously, as a result of a fall from a ladder. He was given first aid on the spot by Dr. Ralph, fire department doctor, and removed to St. Michaels hospital.
*Based on information supplied by J. K. Lee, Toronto correspondent.
Additional police were summoned to control the large crowds of spectators and maintain traffic. The loss was estimated at $100,000.
The chronology of alarms and response was as follows:
12:48 A.M.—Telephone alarm: Engs. 4. 5; Ladder 5 (aerial); High Pressure 2: District Chief Percy Taylor.
12:52 A.M.—Second alarm: Engs. 1, 3, 7. 30; Squad 1; High Pressure 1; Ladders 1 (aerial), 7; Gasoline Suply Truck; Deputy Chief teen; District Chiefs, W. Culling, J. Stevens; Dr. Ralph; Chief of Motor Division; Emergency cars of gas and hydroelectric company.
1:22 A.M.—Third alarm: Engs. 2, 10, 11; Ladders 2, 10 (aerials); Chief Peter Herd; Fire Marshal Sam Hill.
A total of twenty 21/2-in hose lines, together with four high pressure lines, were used.