Exploding Drums of Motor Oil Causes Fire of Intense Heat—Department Hampered by Shortage of Fire Hydrants—Blase lasted 16 Hours

A TELEPHONE alarm at 5 p. m. called three companies to fight a fire that had started in the warehouse of the Elmira Iron and Metal Co., after the fire had been burning for three-quarters of an hour without detection. The warehouse was located in the northeastern section not far from the city limits and it covered an area of 48,000 square feet. The building was about twelve years old, two stories high and constructed of wood, with no sprinkler protection.

At the north, the building was bounded by coal and lumber storage sheds, piles, bins and so forth, and buildings of frame construction. When the first engine company arrived, the fire had completely involved the building. Exploding oil drums shot the flames skyward.

Engine No. 1 stretched in from a hydrant at Harriett and Market streets, using a ⅞-inch tip, and they played on the west end of the store house. Engine No. 3 placed a second line from this hydrant and stretched in to the front of the building. This company also laid a line from a hydrant at Cotton and John. Engine No. 1 ran another line. Chief Espey, who had responded on the first alarm, sent in a special call for Engines 4 and 5; the former company placed a line from Church and Judson to the north end of the building to protect the coal and lumber. Due to shortage of hydrants, Engine No. 5 had to return back to its quarters.

As shown in the sketch, 6-inch mains were available, none gridironed. The shortest line was 650 feet and the longest 1,150 feet. This made it necessary to use small nozzle tips until the pumpers could be placed. A special call w’as sent for a Morse turret wagon. This took two mobile lines out of action and the tw’O lines from No. 4 pumper were then connected to a twoway Eastman deluge set on the north side of the building.

The department succeeded in keeping the fire in the original building. A frame dwelling on the west less than five feet trom the blazing structure was saved. The fire lasted for about sixteen hours.

Layout of Streets and Buildings NearWarehouse Fire

About sixty-five men were on duty at_the fire. The apparatus consisted of four American-LaFrance 750-gallon pumpers, one 75-foot American-LaFrance aerial truck, one type 14 combined city service and hose truck, one double turret wagon and an Eastman deluge set.

The storage building was owned by Benjamin Barcus and used by the Elmira Iron and Metal Co., for the storage of large bales of rags, household belongings, drums of oil, metal, aluminum ware, pianos and so forth. Practically no insurance was carried. The loss will be slightly in excess of $150,000.

Ruins of the Elmira Iron and Metal Company Warehouse

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