Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Two Incendiary Fires Started Department Short Handed This story was published by The Ypsilanti Daily Press on Monday, April 2, 1923. Nineteen fires in the past seven days, six calls over the week end, two fires Sunday deliberately set and the fire department handicapped by the illness of Chief Miller who is confined to his home with influenza and the resignation of one man, is the record which the city fire department ha to report today. Whether or not an investigation will be conducted into the two fires which were of incendiary origin, the firemen were unable to say today. Both fires were started in old shacks which were mainly an eye-sore. Because of the absence of the chief no one was able to make an authoritative statement. Damage estimated at around $500 was sustained when the old Jacob Grob barn burned, but the other fire was less serious. The call to Norris St. came about 8:30 in the evening. The fire was discovered before it had gained much of a headway and the men were able to quickly extinguish it. The old shack was not in use. While the men were at Norris St., neighbors discovered the Grob fire. Every effort was made to get word to the men but before the telephone girls could find anyone to take the message to the department, the men saw the fire and went to the rescue. The whole sky was lighted by the flames from this fire and the blaze could be seen for miles around. While the firemen were still working on the Grob fire, a call came from the Lawrence Anderson house, 725 W. Congress St., where a roof fire had started. Small damage was done here. Because of the fact that both the Norris St. shack and the Groh barn are not equipped with telephones, and not in use, it was almost impossible for the telephone girls to let the firemen know of calls which came in after they left the barns for Norris St. A call came in on the Grob barn fire and the girls made every effort to get in touch with the department, but before they were able to send word, the men had seen the flames. The call to West Michigan came at a time the men were at the Grob fire. Chief Miller’s son was passing the fire barns and hearing the bells there took the call to Michigan Ave. The men were able to get to the Anderson house in time to put out the blaze before it had obtained a start. Damage at the Norris St. fire and the Anderson home was slight, the men report. They are today expressing utmost gratitude to the telephone girls for their efforts to locate them and report the fires. The first week end fire occurred Saturday afternoon when the roof of the Gillian house 601 Emmet caught fire from a spark from the chimney. Damage here was probably around $100, firemen state. Sunday morning a roof fire at the William Richter house, 203 Maple, caused considerable damage. This fire is thought to have started from a spark from the chimney. Besides the fires in the city there was a grass fire outside the city limits on Michigan Ave., near the bend, and tow of the men were called out there with chemicals to put it out. The fire occurred Sunday afternoon. It caused no damage. Firemen today stated that only the two barn fires out of the nineteen calls in the past seven have been incendiary. All of the other blazes have started from some known cause, they feel confident. The men today are nearly worn out from the unusual amount of work they have been compelled to do. It was 2:30 this morning before they were through with their work for last night and were able to rest. Because of the fact that the department was short-handed by two men, more difficulty was encountered in combating the fires than would have occurred ordinarily when three calls come in at once. The work of the fire department in meeting this unusual situation so satisfactorily is being highly commended today.

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