Troy Has Heavy Fire Loss.
Fire which resulted in the death of one fireman and caused a property loss of $300,000 visited Troy, N. Y., on January 20. About 5 o’clock a. m., the motorinan on a passing trolley car noticed smoke pouring out of the windows of the Boston Dry Goods store on River street, near Fulton street, and blowing his whistle, it notified a policeman, who sent in a fire alarm. The Boston store was in the Boardman building, corner of River and Fulton streets. Upon the arrival of Chief Byron and the Read steamer it became apparent that more help was needed ami a second alarm was sounded. By this time the (lames were issuing from the front of the Boston store on River street and from the Fulton street side in several places. Chief Byron telephoned to North Troy and brought Battalion Chief Wike and the Twining and Child steamers to the scene. Thousands of gallons of water were turned on the flames, but they continued to spread, and in half an hour the entire Boardman building, as well as the stores of Kresge & Co., and F. V. Woolworth & Co. on River street, were ablaze. These buildings were of brick, 3 and 4 stories high, and of many years’ standing. The interiors were mostly of wood and brick party walls. Chief Byron saw the danger of the fire extending on Fulton street and several streams were turned on the Bunnell building, and on the Frear building, across the street. Ait the plate glass windows in the Fulton street side of the Frear store soon felt the effects of the heat, and it was not long before they blew out, the glass flying in all directions. The firemen had been warned in time and no one was injured. Half an hour after the first alarm was sounded the roof of the Boardman building fell with a crash, carrying with it a portion of the walls on the Fulton street side. A short time afterwards nearly all the wall on the Fulton street side fell and soon the part directly on the corner gave way. This was followed by a large portion of the River street wall. At noon the rear portion of the roof of the building occupied by Savard Brothers fell in, having been weakened by the weight of part of the Woolworth & Co. structure. At 2 o’clock Chief Byron began relieving the fire companies from duty, as it was deemed impossible for the flames to spread further. Lieutenant Butler of Truck 2 and Captain Link of the Trojan hook and ladder truck had mounted to the roof of the Woolworth store for the purpose of cutting a hole through which to run a line of hose. They had barely reached the roof when it fell, carrying with it the two firemen. Captain Link was not buried under the debris and was easily extricated. Lieutenant Butler, however, was buried out of sight under a great pile of woodwork, mortar and other material. Under the personal direction of Chief Byron ropes, pick axes, shovels and other instruments were used, but it was almost 45 minutes before Lieutenant Butler was brought to view, lie was lying face downward and both his arms were in front of his face. He was still alive, but died soon afterwards. No one could account for the origin of the fire, but that it had been burning for some time before being discovered there was no doubt. It was the most disastrous fire that the city has had in many years.
A more technical description of the fire and how it was fought is given below by Battalion Chief T. Harry Rankin: “The Boardman building occupied a space of 180 feet on River street and 130 feet on Fulton street, being built of brick and iron, four stories high and more than sixty years old. It had recently been remodeled. however, and its interior walls were of both brick and wood. There were no sprinklers in the building nor other private firefighting devices. The first alarm was sent in at 5:19 from box 14. and a second alarm was sounded two minutes later. These alarms were responded to by one American-La F’rance and one Seagrave ladder truck, two i Notts, one Metropolitan, three Buttons, two Amoskeags, two Clapp & Jones, and ten hose and chemical wagons. There were 15 4-inch single fire hydrants in the immediate vicinity, and none not more than 150 feet apart. A 12-inch water main runs through the streets at that point, furnishing a 50-pound hydrant pressure. The firemen were therefore able to get several powerful streams going in quick order, laying 9,000 feet of cotton, rubber-lined hose, attached to which were 1 and 134-inch nozzles. An Eastman nozzle and a Glazier turret pipe*were also brought into use, and Siamese streams were produced with excellent effect. Twenty-one streams were being operated at intervals. There was no lack of city water, and had there been, the close proximity of the burning buildings to the Hudson river would have furnished ample supply. The buildings were occupied by only a few tenants, all of whom were rescued. More than 200 persons were employed in the stores luring business hours. All of these are temporarily out of employment.”
FIRF. AND WATER ENGINEERING is indebted to the art department of the Troy Times and Troy
Press for photographs of the fire and the Boardman building, from which to make the electros herewith presented. Two of these photographs have never been given publicity.