Jersey City, NJ Coal Fire, Mar 1910

Lively Jersey City Fire.

Coal Yard Blaze Endangers Railroad Cars.

A spectacular fire which called forth four alarms and a crowd of more than 50,000 persons and which for a time threatened to spread to hundreds of passenger coaches in the yards of the Jersey Central Railroad, destroyed ninety-six pockets at Burns Brothers' coal yard at the foot of Johnson Street. Jersey City, last night. Two large wooden loading trestles, 150 feet long and 50 feet high, also were burned.

Each of the ninety-six pockets contained 100 tons of coal, but most of them were emptied in time to save the coal, which was dropped to a concrete flooring twenty feet below by an automatic device.

The fire, which started about 9 o'clock in a pocket at the west end of the larger of the two trestles, was swiftly spread by a strong north wind to the adjoining pockets. Four alarms were sent in simultaneously by passersby, bringing Fire Chief CONWAY and the entire Jersey City fire force. By the time the blaze had already caught the trestles high above the coal pockets, and was creeping up the woodwork to the steel cars hanging there. About twenty-five large double trucks stalled near the pockets also had been destroyed.

The firemen devoted their efforts to prevent the blaze from spreading to the company's offices and stables, at the east of the yard, or to the passenger coaches in the railroad yards surrounding it. Employes and firemen, with bags over their heads to shut out the dense smoke, led out 250 horses and dragged out 120 trucks of the coal company, while employes of the railroad switched out the stalled passenger coaches.

The railroad fire tugs, Luzerne, Ithaca, and Mahanoy were sent to the entrance ot the Morris Canal, 100 feet from the north of the larger trestle, to throw streams upon the near-by docks and cars. There were few fireplugs in the neighborhood, and the regular fire companies were hampered by the low water pressure, but after three hours the fire was under control and the remaining buildings saved. All the coal and both trestles, valued at $50,000 each, were destroyed.

The New York Times, New York, NY 26 Mar 1910

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