The Rock Island Argus from Rock Island, Illinois on October 16, 1908 · Page 1
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The Rock Island Argus from Rock Island, Illinois · Page 1

Rock Island, Illinois
Issue Date:
Friday, October 16, 1908
Page 1
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X"1 - ' '".( ' T ?' ' IfjidnightEditionlT ROOK V - .'Fife Extra, 1 M I I j i Hi. FIFTY-SEVENTH YEAH. NO. 312. Blaze Starting in Yards of Rock Island Lumber Company Spreads to Sash and x Door Works. LUMBER PILES FIELD Plant of Sash iously illions of Feet the Fiery wmm mm ' THE MOST DISASTROUS, AS WELL AshE MOST SPECTACULAR FIRE IN THE CITY'S HISTORY, STARTING AT 7:15 THIS EVENING, WROUGHT RUIN IN THE LUMBER YARDS OF THE ROCK ISLAND LUMBER COMPANY AND THE ROCK ISLAND SASH AND DOOR WORKS. AN AREA OF APPROXIMATELY 14 ACRES WAS BURNED OVER. AT LEAST 8.0C0.COO FEET OF LUMBER WAS DESTROYED AND A LOSS OF FROM $500,000 TO $750,000 SUFFERED. STARTING IN THE COAL SHEDS OF THE ROCK ISLAND LUMBER COMPANY. JUST NORTH . OF1 THE OFFICE BUILDING AT TWtNTY-EIGHTH STREET AND FIFTH AVENUE THE FLAMES, DRIVEN BY A GALE FROM THE SOUTHEAST, SPREAD OUT IN THE FORM OF A WEDGE AND MOVED ON IRRESISTIBLY TOWARD THE RIVER BANK, LAYING IN RUINS THE BAKS FROM THE SYLVAN BRIDGE OF THE ROCK ISLAND ROAD WEST FOR THREE BLOCKS, WIPING OUT THE ABANDONED SAW MILL THERE, THE LUMBER YARDS ALONG THE EAST EDGE WERE SWEPT CLEAR, WHILE AT THE WEST THE-FIRE ENVELOPED THE CORNER OF THE MANUFACTURING PLANT OF THE ROCK ISLAND SASH AND DOOR WORKS, AND DESPERTE EFFORTS WERE REQUIRED ON THE PART OF THE FIREMEN .TO PREVENT THE ENTIRE PLANT FROM BEING CONSUMED. THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS OF DAMAGE WAS DONE BY FIRE AND WATER. THE OLD PLANING MILL WAS GUTTED. HAD THE WIND BEEN BLOWING FROM EITHER THE EAST OR THE NORTH A LARGE SECTION OF THE CITY WOULD HAVE BEEN DOOMED. AS IT WAS, ONLY THE RIVER " STOPPED THE ONRUSHING MASS OF FIRE. SO SWIFTLY DID THE FLAMES TRAVEL THAT IN AN HOUR PRACTICALLY THE ENTIRE AREA WAS BURNING. SPARKS CARRIED HIGH IN THE AIR SHOWERED UPON ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, AND EVEN REACHED' DAVENPORT, STARTING A FIRE ON THE ROOF' OF THE GORDON- VAN-, TINE COMPANY, WHICH, HOWEVER, WAS DISTINGUISHED WITHOUT DAMAGE. THE ONLY FIRES THIS VICINITY HAS. SEEN WHICH , EXCEEDED THAT OF TONIGHT IN DAMAGE INFLiCTED WERE- THE ONE THAT DESTROYED THE WEYERHAEUSER V DENKMANN MILL AND YARD6 IN DAVENPORT AND THE ONE THAT BURNED THE STORE HOUSE AT ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL. - Wilhelm.' Thorns, watchman at the Rock Island Lumber company's yards, first discovered the fire about 7:15. He ran to see its extent, hut soon fell, overcome by the heat and the excitement.. The alarm was soon turned in, however, and the fire department was soon on the scene. The fire started In a coal shed of the Rock Island Lumber company. The shed : was used for- storage, and It was located east of Twenty-sixth street and north of the office and lumber storage . buildings which front on Fifth ; avenue. The strong southeast wind fanned the flames, and pile after pile of lumber Ignited in rapid succession, so jthat when the first of' the hose carts arrived it was already a mammoth conflagration, and seemed to be so far under 'way that It would be impossible to prevent It from taking everything between it and the river. Call M Neighbor. As soon T. riousness of the " conflagration became apparent Moline and Davenport were called upon. . The former responded with two hose companies! and the. latter with three, all . of which did good service. Heroic efforts were put forth at once to save the machine shop of the Sash and Door works and the other buildings which were further removed from the path of the flames'. The huge and Door Worlis Most Ser- Affected Brave Fight by Firemen of Three Cities. of Lumber Element Is Three Injured. store house of the lumber company was also in, a fair way of catching fire. and in fact the great heat did cause small fires to start on the roof and on the sides a number of " times, but prompt attention from the firemen and the many volunteers who willingly lent their, aid kept - the water playing on the hot places, and the building was saved, as the . wind gradually swept tile-flame's away to the north. Big; Fiftht ( Wood Miop. The big fight of thejvhole fire waa to save the wood shop of the Sash and Door works, where hundreds of, men are employed, and where there is mr2 than $100,000 worth of machinery. The great flood of fire swept right up to the. building and caught it in its em-, brace in a dozen different places, and It was only the steady streams of water, poured out onto the roof that saved it. A dozen lines of hose were used in keeping the roof of the building wet and at that it took two hours of the hardest kind of work before it was seen that the water would finally conquer.; ' , .... .' '' ' ", ' The men who directed the hose en- dured fearful heat while at work, and or of thejn was overcome and had to be taken to the hospital. Zella -Eagle Eye, who is employed on the Island, was on top of the dry kilns, which are local etl Nmh of the machine shop. OF FLAME CHEC ED Tinuniirnrl Dntnr UIUIU place the hose, and when the cry came mr more nose ne auempieu 10 respond by going after some, but he fell prostrate on the roof and lost consciousness from the effects of the fierce heat Help was summoned, and he was taken to the hospital. ;. Help Carry Uth Anay. ' Piles of lath which were near thd kilns, and which, if ignited, would surely have spread the flames to the kilns and the machine shop, were torn down and 'carried out of danger by dozens of men and . boys,, who eagerly took up the work under the direction of the firemen. As soon as the store house of the Lumber . company was pretty well secured some of the hose which had been used on it was rushed to the kilns' and the machine shop, and the effect was felt at once and gradually the men began to beat the fire back from the places where it had obtained foothold. . ' .' After an hour's . work -'the firemen were able to withstand the heat and get down from the top of the building and plant themselves between it and a matter of how ;ong it would take th . lumber piles, to burn down so as tp remove the chance, of a stf ay spark setting It on fire, again. -' .Burned to Wr" KdKe. In The meantime the. wind had swept Put Dotn THE ARGUS; FRIDAY, OCTOBER II - . .v,-.. 1 . - -- : v - " ' : . I BRIEF Suffcrers-Rock Island Sa and Manufac turing Company, Roach & Musser of Muscatine, the Rock Island, Burlington, Milwaukee and p., R. I. & N. W. Roads and Telegraph and Telephone Companies. , Estimated total . -.(! ! ' .-i Area destroyed . . . . . . Lumber burned . . Machinery loss . Railroad property loss . . Number injured . . . . . Number of men thrown out of employment the fire along at a great rate of speed and the entire lumber yard was burn ing clear dowii to the water's edge. Sparks and burning brands were carried high into the air, and before long flies had started at a hundred places on the arsenal, but . they were grass fireS for the most part, and were easily taken care of. Not so on the railroad bridge, how- tser. ' it took nre and was soon ren- the old saw mill burned like tinder when the first sparks struck it. There was nothing the firemen could do, however, to save it. and their, energies were expended in saving what they could on the south side of the railroad tracks. There were a large number of box cars on the tracks between the piles of lumber at the time the fire started, but nearly all of them were taken out before damage was done. . Throw Lumber Into River. . When it was seen that the entire river bank would, be burned over, a large force of volunteers was sent into the lumber piles near the water. : Provided with boards they centered their efforts on one pile after another, overturning them into the slough. Thousands of feet of lumber were saved i?i this manner and the duration of the fire shortened thereby. Uljc Lumber Sheda Saved. , . ' The -Rock Island Lumber., company had recently built one of the best and most modern lumber sheds iu the country, extending along the north side :of Fifth .avenue a block east from the office at Twenty-eigth street. Another wing extended a block north. Along this shed one of the hardest fights of the evening took place. Several times the north end was afire, but each time the firemen who had a hose running two blocks from Fifth' avenue and Twenty-ninth street got the upper hand and finally triumphed. J - Start Fire' on Inland. Sparks, carried by the gale,' were showered over the entire west end of the island across Sylvan slought, and in an hour from the outbreak of the flames grass fires had been started in the vicinity of the Rock Isiand tracks. The Rock. Island road. sent a force of men from Davenport and Commandant Hobbs of Rock Island . arsenal ordered out the fire brigade there to cope with the flames and prevent possible danger to the . storehouse and other property near the south end of the main Rock Island bridge. . .. , , - ; S.,' ... Railroads. Interrupted. . wj. ; i Not least important among the. Inci dental results of the fire was tne complete suspension of traffic on thei ms'n line of the Rock Island and on ;hi Bur lington and "Milwaukee roadi.- Pas senger and freight trains were tied up on both sides of the blaze, and indica tions are they will not be able to roovt before morning. ' The Rock Island road is hplnlpss th slouch bridee being nut out of commission for. a time at leasi. . When the fire reached the lumber piles near the south ,end of this structure the ties soon. caughL. and driven by a. wind, which blew, exact lylength wise. the. flames rapidly; followed,. the ?ull length, , and; JBoon.-iu, was .unsafe for an engine to attempt to cro8s(iMost of the ties, which formed the only wood en part of the bridge, were, destroyed and the. rails warped. , ahdr "J. twisted Switching crews at work jn-tha. yards for a time did what, they could to keep the. line. open,, but as the. hridge.:was directly in the path of the fire it soon" lLv 1908. FACTS ABOUT loss . . . . became so hot' that . they were compelled to give it up and watch the fire burn. The Burlington and Milwaukee tracks which cut the burning yards in two in the middle were badly damaged, most of the ties being either destroyed or weakened, while the rails were warped out of shape by the heat The evening trains, both north and south bound, were held .back,, neither being As soon as it was seen that the lum-j ber yards were doomed a switching crew was put to work on the Burlington tracks and half a dozen loaded cars standing near the. sash, and .door works were drawn out and taken to the yards farther west out of danger, Two switch tracks with cars on them, however, were iu such shape that the engine could . not" get to them! Both opened onto the main line directly in front of the fire. . Four cars were destroyed. " Telegraph Linen Tn nit led. j The telegraph lines of the three rail road companies were almost demoral ized and the dispatchers were, handi capped iu their work correspondingly. Along the Rock. Island road several poles near the Sylvan bridge and the cross arms carrying scores of wires burned, and the wires were tangled up. On the other side of the same tracks a dozen heavy power wires over which Davenport is served from the Peoples Power plant in Moline were placed in a precarious situation, the poles being weakened and the insulation burned off... . - .: .. Not a few telephone circuits in Rock Island and a. number conecting Rock Island and Moline with Davenport were put out of commission. Dea;la Hepalra at Once. j time was lost by the Rock Island roaV in beginning repairs upon the track and the telegraph lines. By mid night a force of 100 trackmen and 30 linesmen were at work. The latter temporarily cut off , Davenport's light circuits, 20 . wires carrying heavy voltage being switched off for the time being to avert danger to the men at their work.' ',,;' .'. i ' ' ' On the. will be-necessary. to lay new t ies nearly the entire length and to put down new rails. The woad-; en trestle at the south end will have to be rebuilt. The son th west limited on the Mil waukee road was caught" at, Clinton and detoureffr by ,way of Davenport, while the Burlington reversed the evening train from the south at Moline and the one from the north at this city. ', .'v.- : " Vitut Crowd' Sees Fire. The crowd that saw the fire was probably the largest , that ever assembled in Rock Island.. There, were probably 50,000 people at . the1, scene. The lurid flames lighted the heavens, being visible-, for f miles even before the waterworks whistle sounded the alarm, and - thousands ; rushed ; $o the scene from this city and from Moline and Davenport as welL Every automo bile and other vehicle for -miles around wftt pressed into service, and in an In credibly short time a mass ot people had accumulated at 1 every vantage poilit. ' While the great majority were injthe streets )f the. city hundreds lined the Sylvan bridge.andven th Island and the railroad ' embankment were thickly dotted . with 1 humanity Theaters and other places where-the THE . . crowds had begun to assemble for the evening's entertainment were emptied as soon as the iword was passed of what was goin on and actors found themselves playing to empty seats. l-'antlllcH Move their (.urnlM. A number of families living east of Twenty-fifth street on Fourth and Fifth avenues, becoming panic stricken at theerrifying spectacle, and fearing thUhbomeajyexti-about jjxJbe, .dj StrOyetl hasmy-Drgaa.;. moving their household effects. Hand carts, express wagons and other Vehicles were pressed into service,- and -there was a great scurrying to get valuables out of the threatened neighborhood. . I'rojMrrty Fully laMnred. All the property .destroyed is fully insured, the Rock Island Sash aud Door works risk being handled by the Hayes & Cleveland agency. It Is esti mated that there is J400.0C0 insurance on the lumber destroyed, and at least half that amount upon the other property of the company which fed the flames. There are in all probably GOO policies in force, . ranging from 2.500 to $25,000. and practiclly every company 'carrying fire' risks in this part of the country will be a loser. The Rock Island Lumber company's property and the railway property lost Is also. insured for approximately its full value. i ew Ilullrilnir Plnnned. - Plans have been drawn and arrangements completed to build a three-story factory building just east of the other shops of the Rock Island Sash and Door works, to be one of the largest in the entire plant. Work was to have begun in a few days. It is probable that this will be delayed, though it is believed that the fire will not interfere with ultimate construction. Old Pump at First In I mr. When the fire started it happened that the old pump at the waterworks wag on duty. It took some little time to get the new pump to going, but Supreintendent Cavanaugh and his en tire-force were quickly on the. job, and when the big machine was placed in operatiou there was a very noticeable increase in the pressure. Moline came to the aid of Rock Isl and with a. supply of water, the mains at the east end of this city being con nected with Moline mains, and ,'the latter city's pump being set to work sending-orater down from the east to help keep up the pressure. About to Move Old Mill. H. W. Horst. the . contractor, is mourning the loss of a 5.000 contract as a result of the fire. It had been virtually settled that he should begin the dismantling of the old saw mill near the river bank during the coming week. The structure was to be razed and the machinery sent to another city and again set up. Of course the machinery Is now a mass ofxuins, and will be simply junk v Fireman Injured. Grant E. Zimmerman, a member of the. Central fire department, sustained a painful injury, while fighting the flaanes.'.tf; He was on the roof of the boiler room when he received orders to bring the line of hose he was hand ling down to the ground As he step ped on the top round of the .ladder which led . to the earth the ..ladder slipped out -from under him and be fell.' a distance of about -15 feet. He landed -ou his feet, and fortunately es capea wun nothing worse than a sprained ankle. He gamely refused to . . $500,000 to $750,000 . . . . , 14 acres PRICE. TWO. CENTS. BIG FIRE 8,000,000 feet $60,000 . $25,000 . . 500 be taken to the hospital, although the ankle swelled badly. He was placed , in Chief Eckharfs rig and taken to the police station, where care was giv-. en the injured limb. ' ': v; ; . . Fire Brevities . . f"''',' ' The firemen found plenty of willing helpers in the crowd, of on lookers. . "' . 1 , 1 . .. v duiu me lumuer properties are con- , trolled by the Weyerhaeuser interests p.l'i the Sash and Door .works. ... . ; The entire police, force of the'cily ; was on the job. but in the dense crowd s Ihey had little effect. Five hundred po- . licemen could not have held the spectators in check. . -.'-.' People will insist ingoing into, the " most dangerous places despite the repeated warnings given them by those ." who kiiow. As the poles containing the transmission wires of the Peoples - Power company were falling it was 1. with the utmost difficulty that, the. r crowd was kept from standing directly under them. Had one of the ... wires ; broken and struck a rail or fallen iotdf r the crowd there is no telling how many t fatalities there would have been. J.v v The street cars on Fifth avenue weref compelled to stop running past thei scene of the fire because "of the llne of hose stretched across, the street . They inpaugurated a transfer. service 1 ' that filled the bill pretty well, how-, ever. .. ..' ' The bridge to Davenport was alive with people, mostly from Davenport; ; Special cars were used to convey me -thousands who wanted to see the fire. When it comes to fighting the flames the firemen never considered whether the fire was iu this city, Moline or Davenport. They worked as hard as . they could, and deserve all the credit that is given them for their prompt ' and efficient work. Enough water was used to make a small river. The railroad yards were , -covered to the depth of nearly; four inches for a distance of some three blocks. . . - . . . THAW LIKELY TO GO TO PITTSBURG SOON Counsel Pledged to Place No Obsta cles in Way of Return if Hrt;VV : Allowed to Testify, v":- New York. Oct 16. It was annauhc-'- j ed here last night that Harry K. Thaw might go to Pittsourg next Sunday tiwrning or soon thereafter to testify in connection with the bankruptcy ; proceedings now pending against hint in that city. This information - was given out after a conference had heen , ; held by Dr. Anios T. Baker, assistant ''"JS superintendeat of the Matteawan hospital for the criminal insane, where - . Thaw is confined, and Coionel":Aba i Bird. Gardiner, 6pacial deputy ; attor-. ney general appointed to take charge ;; ot the Thaw case - in behalf of the state. ..-.- , ' v-. ' , ; ' ..'..'.,. A wiit issued by the United States ; court s in Pennsylvania" commanding Dr. Robert F. Lamb, superintendent of ' the; Matteawan hospital,-, to ; product; , Thaw in Pittsburg was wSfved on Dr. I.amh vesterdav: . - - ', . V . Colonel Gardiner sa the' resentatives have promised tioi any obstacle in the way ot .1 Thaw returned to -New rTofk Ii he appears -in - Pittsburg and a waa his. main contention stgajfi ing the prisoner taken there, 15C Gardiner says he doas not seeli piia successfully: oppose the Uki -f V re" V. i i '3 : s t : X Y

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