Wind Fans Flames at Knoxville Hotel Fire
Chief Sam B. Boyd and the department, of Knoxville, Tenn., were called out at 12:30 a. m., a short time ago to fight a serious fire at the Imperial Hotel and an adjoining building. The velocity of the wind was so great that the flames had already gained considerable headway when the department arrived. The fire originated in the top of the elevator shaft of the Imperial Hotel, a four-story brick building connected by a bridge to a newer but similarly constructed annex. The main building was erected in 1880 and occupied a space of 230×55 feet, while the annex occupied 110×40 feet of space. From this building the fire spread to an adjoining three-story brick building occupied by a retail clothing firm, a tobacco dealer, and as a lodging house. Chief Boyd immediately upon his arrival saw to it that all the hotel guests vacated the building. The firemen were handicapped in their work not only by the high w ind, but by the fact that the building contained numerous old lath and plaster partitions which easily caught fire. Also the street in the rear had been torn up by contractors. The department managed to confine the flames to the hotel building and the rear portion of the adjoining structure. After about seven hours of work the fire was extinguished, the loss being in the vicinity of $125,000. The work of the department at this fire was greatly praised by the mayor, the press and the public. The report of the Tennessee Inspection Bureau also gives the department much credit. The fire is supposed to have been caused by lightning. During the fire two firemen were slightly injured when a roof on which they were fell The loss was chiefly on the buildings, although considerable hotel furniture was destroyed. There were eight hydrants, situated from 150 feet to 300 feet apart, available for use, and at each there was a pressure of about 75 pounds. The department threw ten engine and four hydrant streams and had 5,500 feet of cotton rubberlined hose in service. Only two breaks in the hose occurred. The nozzles used were 1-, 1⅛atid lJ4-inch in size. The water main in front of the damaged hotel was 10 inches in diameter and the main in the rear 12 inches. Chief Boyd worked at the fire with 165 firemen, 1 75-foot ladder truck, 1 motor combination, 1 first size Metropolitan steam engine, 1 second size American-LaFrance steam engine, 1 third size Silsby steam engine, 1 fourth size American-LaFrance steam engine, and 1 type 12 American-LaFrance motor triple combination car. Chief Boyd reported that the American-LaFrance pumping engine ‘ worked steadily for eight hours without a hitch. The Imperial Hotel was situated in the heart of the city and for a time the fire menaced many business buildings surrounding it.