|Camden Courier - May 22, 1925|
|Camden Courier-Post - February 22, 1928|
|$225,000 FIRE RUINS 5 UPTOWN PLANTS|
FLEE AS FLAMES RAGE IN BIG BUILDING
Factory of Evans Leather Co. Saved by Valiant Work of Firemen
APPARATUS IS DISABLED; DEBRIS BURIED FIRE PLUG
Metal Stamping Firm, Textile Concern Heavy Losers; Pattern Shop Saved
Thomas Nicholas - James Tatem
Harry M. Leigh - David Ellis
Engine Company 2
Engine Company 4
Engine Company 5
Engine Company 6
|Click in Images to Enlarge|
Camden Courier-Post - April 4, 1928
Nicholas - John
H. Lennox - Rollo
Jones - William Harring
George B. Wade - William W. Patterson
Camden Courier-Post - April 18, 1930
YOUTHS HELD AS BLAZE RAZES
Three boys are being held and two others are sought in the investigation of the $45.000 fire which today destroyed the warehouse of Sitley & Son, wholesale hardware, roofing material and grain dealers at Sixth and Bulson streets.
The three boys were ordered held by Police Judge Pancoast after authorities expressed belief that the three alarm fire was caused either by thieves or boys smoking cigarettes on the premises.
Two of the youths admitted they stole coal from the plant's siding last night, while the third confessed that he, and two other boys were in the plant last evening. He said his two companions, who are expected to be arrested this afternoon, were smoking
One fireman was slightly hurt when he ran a nail into his foot, while other firefighters narrowly escaped injury when the roof of the-blazing building collapsed.
A dense fog, rain, great clouds of thick smoke and intense heat' all hampered the firemen, and rendered them practically helpless for more than three hours. When the blaze was finally under control at 8:00 a.m., only the blackened and buckled walls remained standing,
Practically the entire stock was lost. but through the courage of four men including two policemen: a team of terrified horses and three trucks were saved from the blazing stable.
Twenty employees were temporarily deprived of work.
Discovery of three rolls of wire fencing on nearby railroad tracks and the presence at two men near the premises when the blaze was discovered led Fire Chief Thomas Nicholas to believe thieves had thrown a cigarette near some flammable material.
Two other youths, John Hadyniak, 16, of 685 Ferry Avenue, and Anthony Parraine [Piraino- PMC], 11, of 2026 South Seventh Street, arrested on a charge of stealing coal from the Sitley siding last night are also being held. They declare they were not in the plant.
In addition to the smoke and heat firemen were further hampered by the fact that two railroads pass the building. Many of the hose lines had to be stretched over the tracks, so that in order to prevent passing trains, from which thousands of commuters saw the fire, from cutting the lines, holes were dug under the tracks and the lines run through the excavations.
Captain David Ellis, of No. 7 fire company at Mt. Ephraim and Kaighn Avenues, ran a nail in his foot, and after being given first aid treatment at the scene was taken to the West Jersey Homeopathic Hospital.
The first alarm was sounded at 4:18 a.m. from a box at Fillmore Street and Chelton Avenue. The fire was discovered by Paul N. Naurath, 1727 Master Street, an engineer at the Camden brewery, which is in the immediate vicinity of the Sitley plant.
Naurath ran to a gasoline filling station at Broadway and Chelton Street from where he telephoned to fire headquarters. He later told Police Lieutenant George Frost that when he noticed the smoke and flames he saw two men running around the Sitley stable, which is attached to the main plant. However, he paid no attention to them, being intent upon turning in an alarm.
While fire apparatus sped to the scene, Naurath, Frederick Baum, 431 Winslow Street; Patrolman Frank Del Rossi and Police Sergeant Edward Carroll, heard the shrill screams of horses in the stable, which had quickly become an inferno,
The four rushed into the stable, broke down the door, and led out the two horses, which several times attempted to run back into the flames. The men also drove three trucks out of the place before they were driven away by the dense smoke.
The building occupies a plot about 300 feet square and comprises several one and two-story sections. There wax formerly a grain elevator on the site belonging to the Sitleys, but it was destroyed by fire more than a decade ago and never rebuilt. On the south side of the plant are the Atlantic City Railroad tracks, and on the east side the West Jersey and Seashore Railroad lines.
Flames Spread Rapidly
Believed to have started either in the stable or at the extreme northern end of the plant, the fire quickly swept through the entire building. Rolls of tarred paper and bins of grain were quickly consumed, throwing out huge clouds of smoke.
Two more alarms were sounded for additional apparatus, but it was not until 7:30 a.m. that firemen could enter the building. Meanwhile, about 50 hose lines were stretched to the building and water continually played on the fire. Commissioner Frank B. Hanna arrived and increased the water pressure five points at the pumping stations to keep a water supply to feed the hose lines. Chief of Police Lewis H. Stehr also sped to the fire.
A touch of tragedy was added when Thomas Mills, 70, of 431 Viola Street, employed by the Sitleys for 40 years as a packer, arrived. The elderly workman burst into tears when he saw the flames, and sobbed that he was now out of work and had a family to support.
Finally, about 8 a. m., firemen had the blaze under control, after the roof had caved in. Only the walls stood, but several times they threatened to collapse.
The owners, Frank B. Sitley, Sr., of Woodbury, and his son, Frank B. Sitley, Jr., arrived, but declined to estimate their loss. However, police and firemen fixed an approximate damage of $25,000 to the building and $20,000 to the stock.
Lieutenant Frost found three rolls of wire fencing which had been taken from the building, They were lying on the Reading Railroad tracks, apparently dropped by thieves when police arrived.
Young Brodzik was arrested at 8:00 p.m. yesterday by Special Officer John Stevenson, who turned him over to Patrolmen Smith and Rieh. The youth was charged with suspicion of having broken into the place, and is alleged to have first denied being in the building, but later admitted that he and two other boys crawled through a basement window.
The boy declared that he neither smoked nor stole anything, but said that other boys had smoked. He refused to divulge their names.
Hadyniak and Perraine were arrested last night and charged with theft of coal from the siding. Brodzik declared those two were not the boys who were with him last night,
All three were arrraigned before Judge Pancoast in police court this morning and held without bail pending investigation.
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