Sheffield, PA Stove Company Fire, Feb 1916
SHEFFIELD VISITED BY A DISASTROUS FIRE TODAY.
ESTIMATED THAT LOSS WILL BE OVER HUNDRED THOUSAND.
The most disastrous and costly fire that has ever visited Sheffield, broke out in the plant of the Pennsylvania Stove Company this morning and before it was brought under control, it caused a loss that will easily reach $125,000 and probably will amount to $150,000. The fire consumed over 1,000,000 finished barrel staves that command a price of $13 a thousand in the open market, besides destroying three large sheds in which they were stored. The actual loss cannot be stated as the officials of the company refuse to give out any statement.
The fire was caused by sparks from the stoves that the jointers use to warm their hands while working in the open. The stoves are roughly improvised affairs and have no covers to keep the sparks from blowing out over the tops of them. It is thought that the workmen failed to quench the fire in some of them when they completed their labors last evening, and enough live embers were left to start the conflagration. As soon as the flames got a good start, the fire spread to three of the eight sheds in the group on the grounds and when the fire department reached the scene it soon became evident that the equipment was not sufficient to cope with the situation. The Elk Tanning company sent its powerful engine to help in subduing the fire and it was not until after 9 o'clock this morning that the flames were brought under complete control. The fire was still burning up to noon and the hardwood that the staves were made from proved to be lasting fuel for the flames.
By heroic efforts, the firemen succeeded in keeping the fire confined to the three sheds, where it started and the men were covered with ice as they worked, the thermometer being below the zero mark all the time they were engaged.
While the loss to the company is enormous, it is intimated that the insurance carried will protect the company. The officials of the company state that the fire will not cause a shut down of the plant and that operations will be carried on as usual. The blaze could be seen for many miles around and drew hundreds of persons from nearby towns and hamlets.
Warren Evening Times Pennsylvania 1916-02-19