Rekindles 1/14

COLON, PANAMA: JAN. 3, 1914 – The Star Theatre, a large wooden movie and vaudeville venue, caught fire and the flames spread rapidly. The theater, on Bolivar Street, was soon a mass of flames that ignited all the frame structures along the street for two blocks. The Colon Fire Department was assisted by the American Department from Cristobal. Together, they stopped the spreading fire.


ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA: JAN. 5, 1914 – While battling a fire at the Buttery & Sons Furniture Factory on Rundle Street, fire department Foreman Herbert Hedger was burned about the face. Despite his injuries, he continued working for several days until his health deteriorated to the point that he was admitted to the hospital. On Jan. 30, Hedger died and his death was recorded as having occurred in the line of duty.


BRAINTREE, MA: JAN. 14, 1914 – Two alarms were transmitted for a fire in the T.B. Cooper General Market on Railroad Avenue. District Chief Whitmarsh of East Braintree jumped from his sickbed and responded to the fire with his department’s apparatus. The building and the stock were a total loss.


BOSTON, MA: JAN. 14, 1914 – A fire started in Tower A, a key switching station that controlled more trains each day than any other on the American continent, at about 9 A.M. Faced with severe cold and gale-force winds, firemen attempted to reach the isolated tower located on the far side of a draw bridge. Thousands of feet of hose were dragged across train tracks toward the blazing tower. The fire gained tremendous headway before a fireboat arrived at the scene and blasted the flames with a half-dozen streams. The wind-driven streams sprayed the entire area with water that froze immediately on anything it touched. All the firemen, the hose and the ground itself became caked in ice. The loss of the tower affected train traffic in the entire Northeast for several days.


MONTREAL, CANADA: JAN. 13, 1914 – A fire started in a four-story warehouse in the business center of the city and began spreading. Responding firefighters were faced with a serious fire and extreme weather conditions. The temperature was 25 degrees below zero. Battling the blaze and the cold, they stopped the fire from igniting the historic Notre Dame Cathedral. The fire department also had to battle six other fires at the same time. Nearly every firefighter suffered from frostbite.


JACKSONVILLE, FL: JAN. 17, 1914 – Fanned by a strong river breeze, flames destroyed the Atlantic Coast Line docks. Fire conditions became extremely dangerous when five blazing lighters and four vessels, the steamship Pyckland and three schooners drifted down the St. John’s River. With tugboats in hot pursuit, the fires were all extinguished and the vessels saved. The lighters burned to their waterline, then sunk.


NORTH TARRYTOWN, NY: JAN. 17, 1914 – John D. Rockefeller presented Rescue Hose Company with 200 feet of hose for its new motorized apparatus. Rockefeller said he intended to buy his own fire engine for his estate when the fire company offered its services. In appreciation, he provided the new hose as a gift.


PHILADELPHIA, PA: JAN. 18, 1914 – A fire in the pattern building of the Cramp Ship Building Co. plant in Kensington spread quickly. For two hours, firemen battled the difficult blaze and had to scramble for safety when walls collapsed around them. Lost to the flames were thousands of dollars worth of patterns for U.S. battleships, cruisers and torpedo boats constructed during the previous decade.


CLEVELAND, OH: JAN. 24, 1914 – Fifteen firemen and one worker were overcome by smoke during a fire in the M&M Auto Supply Co. plant on Prospect Avenue. An exploding gasoline torch ignited the basement fire that quickly spread to several adjacent structures. Twenty firemen were making a stand in an alley, trying to halt the extending flames, when their escape route was cut off. Other firemen hurried to rescue them, but not before half of them fell unconscious in the thick smoke.


WATERLOO, IA: JAN. 28, 1914 – Early Monday morning, flames broke out in a large dry goods store on the Russell-Lamson block. Spreading to the offices that filled the upper floors, the blaze became so fierce it almost overwhelmed the local firefighters. They concentrated their efforts and stopped the fire from spreading to adjacent properties.


MANCHESTER, NH: JAN. 29, 1914 – A fire in the four-story Merchant’s Exchange Building at the corner of Elm and Manchester streets destroyed a number of important businesses. In the building was the Barton Co., the largest department store in the state, a large dry goods store, two banks and a telegraph office. The fire also necessitated the closing of the electric light and power plant, cutting power across the city. Bricks from a falling wall also injured two firemen.