Rekindles 12/12

WASHINGTON, DC: DEC. 6, 1912 – Colonel Spencer Cosby of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the White House administrator and commissioner, announced to the other commissioners of the District of Columbiathat the water mains on the White House grounds...


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WASHINGTON, DC: DEC. 6, 1912 – Colonel Spencer Cosby of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the White House administrator and commissioner, announced to the other commissioners of the District of Columbiathat the water mains on the White House grounds were not sufficient nor was the pressure great enough to combat a fire in the historic building. They answered that the authorization for improvements could only come from Congress, and Spencer vowed to carry on the fight. (Spencer was famous for the planting of more than 3,000 of the famed Japanese cherry trees in Potomac Park.)

 

PARIS, FRANCE: DEC. 7, 1912 – A short-circuiting wire caused a fast-spreading fire that seriously damaged the St. Denis electrical light and power station, plunging large sections of the “City ofLight” into darkness. The blaze began just before 6 P.M. and, despite the response of a large contingent of firefighters, grew to alarming proportions. Fifteen minutes later, subway trains ground to a halt as the lights in the trains and tunnels slowly dimmed. By 7 P.M., all passengers had been safely removed from the trains and tunnels and large crowds waited to hear when full power would be restored.

 

CINCINNATI, OH: DEC. 11, 1912 – A workman’s torch was believed to have ignited a blaze that menaced the entire downtown area. The fire broke out just after 8 P.M. in the rear of the Gibson Hotel and quickly spread to a neighboring department store and then to the Union Trust Bank. Inside the bank, 45 women were at work cleaning offices in the seven-story building. More than 20 of them were trapped until rescuers ran elevators back and forth through the smoke and flames. In all, nine persons were injured and damage neared $1 million. Firefighters were on scene until the next day cooling hot spots and checking the smoldering debris.

 

PARIS, FRANCE: DEC. 14, 1912 – The Municipal Council announced its decision to purchase a new type of automobile fire engine. The machine was said to be of light construction and would carry four men and a large tank containing 105 gallons of water. The plan was to allow the engine to arrive at a fire and immediately pump water while additional water connections were made. This was hoped to be a vast improvement over the cumbersome equipment being used by the Paris Fire Brigade and other major departments around the world.

 

PATERSON, NJ: DEC. 15, 1912 – A fire smoldering in Christmas goods burst into flames just before 6:30 A.M. and quickly spread to all six floors of the J.S. Diskon Department Store, on the northwest corner of Mainand Van Houten streets. Under the command of Chief Coyle, the entire department battled the expanding firefront, taking terrible punishment as the firemen attempted to stop the waves of heat and smoke. In a long, tough fight, the chief directed a three-pronged attack that slowed, then finally stopped the spreading wall of flames. With renewed vigor, they began to inch forward pressing the attack. After two hours, with many firemen injured or unconscious due to the thick smoke and extreme heat, the fire was under control. In all, six buildings were destroyed. Firemen remained on scene late into the night.

 

BROOKLYN, NY: DEC. 16, 1912 – While battling a blaze on a barge moored on the Gowanus Canal, Fireman Leddy of Ladder Company 59 (now known as 109) was hit by a boom, stunned and hurled into the canal. Fireman Deja of Engine Company 202 leaped into the icy water fully clothed and at great personal risk swam out and saved the semi-conscious fireman.

 

GREAT NECK, NY: DEC. 16, 1912 – Sparking electrical wires started a blaze that killed seven show horses, as fire swept through a large brick and frame barn on a huge estate on Middle Neck Road. Employees of the estate saved eight horses before they were driven back by the high heat. Also lost were several ornate carriages and other expensive tackle. The barn stood on the crest of a large hill and the flames could be seen for miles. Responding firefighters were hampered by the poor water supply.

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