Rekindles 9/12

HACKENSACK, NJ: SEPT. 1, 1912 – A large, seven-passenger touring car, valued at $5,000 and belonging to a wealthy real estate broker, was destroyed by fire during the evening. The car stalled and when the driver attempted to re-start the engine, it backfired and ignited the gasoline. The fire department arrived at the scene and extinguished the fire. The driver refused to give his name or the name of a woman accompanying him in the vehicle. The car’s owner said he sent his chauffeur to pick up his brother and had no idea who the woman was.


CHICAGO, IL: SEPT. 2, 1912 – Heavy rains drenched the city, causing the cancellation of a White Sox baseball game and flooding the fire alarm office with calls for homes struck by lightning. An inch and a half of rain fell within one hour in the afternoon. A woman playing the piano was knocked across the room by a bolt of lightning that set the piano and then her house on fire. Across town, 16 chorus girls were in the changing room beneath the stage of the Clark Street Theatre when the room began filling with a torrent of rainwater. The girls climbed onto tables to keep their costumes from getting wet as firemen arrived to pump out the cellar.


BALTIMORE, MD: SEPT. 2, 1912 – Two alarms were transmitted for a difficult fire onboard the S.S. Nantucket, which was docked at Pier 5, Locust Point. As fire companies went to work, Pipeman John T. Krampe of Engine 26 was stretching a hoseline across the deck of the ship when he fell into an open hatchway. Krampe plunged to the bottom of the blazing ship and was killed.


PAULINA, IA: SEPT. 7, 1912 – The pastor of a local church was driving his car filled with young passengers when it jumped from a small bridge. The pastor was thrown under the vehicle, pinning him there. The children’s screams attracted a passerby who moved in close with a lantern to see how the pastor was pinned. The lantern slipped from his hands and fell into a puddle of spilled fuel, igniting the gas, the car and unfortunately the pastor. One of the passengers was also killed and several would-be rescuers were severely burned.


LONDON, ENGLAND: SEPT. 9, 1912 – The Fire Brigade responded to a fire in the switch room of the electric works. The flames were extinguished, but the damage done to the equipment and wiring plunged the Isslington section of the city into total darkness. Four and three-quarter square miles of the city went black. Theaters filled with people went dark and the streets and sidewalks filled with the curious as companies of the Fire Brigade patrolled the area in case of additional fires.


NEWPORT, RI: SEPT. 15, 1912 – A fire broke out in the boathouse of the Commodore Morgan at Brenton’s Cove near Fort Adams. Arriving firemen found a boat blazing inside the structure and stretched hoses to battle the fire and protect nearby property from possible fire extension. Sailors from the nearby Navy Torpedo Squadron helped fight the fire. The boat, the interior furnishings and the boathouse were all badly damaged.

ITHACA, NY: SEPT. 19, 1912 – The historic Witherbee Memorial Clubhouse on Percy Field, which had housed the Cornell athletic teams since 1894, was destroyed by an early-morning fire. The fire burned football equipment for 125 players, all of the baseball team’s equipment and many track suits, including one worn by team captain John P. Jones during the Olympics. The two-story wood building burned like a tinderbox.


LOS ANGELES, CA: SEPT. 21, 1912 – A huge fire in the Merchant’s Ice and Cold Storage Co. caused more than $250,000 in damage. Thousands of crates of eggs, great quantities of butter and tons of fruit were lost to the flames. Also ruined by the flames was the costly refrigeration equipment used to chill the great structure.


ARLINGTON, NJ: SEPT. 22, 1912 – A noontime fire in the Arlington Catholic School caused the majority of the volunteer fire department and 300 boy students of the school to help battle the flames in their Sunday best. The cry of fire was heard just as church was letting out. The boys formed a bucket brigade until the firefighters arrived. Fireman Francis Downey, the tillerman of Truck 2, injured his head as he pulled out of the firehouse. Despite having bitten off the end of his tongue, he continued to the fire and went to work. n