Two Fires Tax Washington Firemen
Washington, D.C., experienced two costly fires during the second week of February, about two days apart. From information forwarded by Chief Frank J. Wagner of the Washington fire department, the following facts are taken : The first fire was that which practically destroyed the Washington Railway & Electric Car Barn, located in the northeastern section of the city on 13th and D Streets, and which covered a ground space of 188×200 feet. The building was two stories high, constructed of brick with iron trusses and and woodwork, about eighteen years ago. There were no partition walls. The fire started in the west end of the barn, having been caused by a short circuited electric feed wire to a heater in one of the cars. The discovery was made by a man named Crown about 3.19 a.m., who at once sent in an alarm from a private box, No. 1659, inside of the barn. The only facilities for fighting a fire in the building were extinguishers, hose and some sand. When the department arrived the flames were spreading all over the building and red and blue flames were shooting above the roof. The department was greatly handicapped by the extreme cold weather and the danger of electrocution, until the electric current could be cut off. After a severe battle of five hours the flames were subdued. The loss has not been approximated. The second fire, which occurred two days later, was that of the Woolworth and McCrorey stores, located in the centre and business district of the northwest section. The Woolworth stores, which were only slightly damaged, covered 75×100 feet of ground space, and the McCrorey store, 46×106 feet. The buildings, which were three stories high, were constructed of both brick and wood, and had partition walls above the first floor, some of the partitions in the Woolworth stores being of brick and plaster, while those in the McCrorey store were of brick. The Woolworth building was about thirty years old and the McCrorey building five years old. There were no sprinkler equipments in either building and only a few extinguishers. and the only means of exit in case of fire was by the stairway. The fire was discovered by the superintendent of Odd Fellows Hall across the street about 9.12 p.m., it having been started by an overheated stove. The alarm was sent in by telephone, and when Engine Company No. 14 arrived only a small blaze was visible, hut suddenly the entire building became enveloped. Work on this fire was greatly impeded, the same as on the other fire, by the extreme cold weather. Furthermore, the firemen were compelled to fight the fire from adjoining buildings because of their inability to hoist ladders, except in front of the building. It was a two hours fight before the flames were conquered.