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THE ARGUS, WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 1004.
FIREMEN SAVE MILLION AND A HALF
OF PROPERTY AT ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL
Harness Shop is Running as Usual Today, Loss to
Government Being $12,000.
THIRTY-FIVE NAPTHA TANKS EXPLODE
Many Men Are Rescued From Upper Floors. Climbing Down
Ropes and Ladders Investigating
Col. S. II Rlunt. commandant at
Jtock Island arsenal. thU afternoon
ftated that he did not believe the loss
from the fire of yesterday afternoon
In shop I. ih- harness department,
would exceed $12oo. The TOO men
employed In the building were all back
at their work this morn In?, and little
Inconvenience has been sutT-r-d. The
aaost serious damage was done amoag
the equipmt litis., the Jos to the build
lo barely reacning ..)'.
On account of the smoking of the
alls and ceilings the building
throughout will have to be whitewash
ed. Ou t.e four Doors of the wing to
which th- flaiiie.4 were confined the
window ahes and casings and tho
wooden floors will have to be repair
In the basement, wnere the fire broke
out. the floor Is of stone. As the con
struction of the building is nearly
wholly or Iron, stone and brick, the
fire could not make headway as rap
idly as were 1 he structure of more in
Mlllloa mmd a Half ml Proper! jr.
But when it is considered that the
value of the building is Z.W) and
tho property stored therein $1.00o,0o0.
the comparative insignilicance of
t !jt loss can be appreciate?!.
Col. I5!unt has not had a
full investigation as to the cause,
but it is his theory that the explosions
amd fire that followed were due to
rpontaneous combustion caused by the
combustion of the leather oil and the
naptha. although there is a story to
the effect that a workman stepping
on a match was what ignited the gaso
line in the tanks.
"That the fire did not get beyond
the limits to which it was confined."
fol. ISlunt said, "was due in sreat
measure to the assistance of the fire
departments of Rock Island. Daven
port and Moline, and to the knowledge
of the men of these departments dis
played in fighting it." Col. Blunt has
sent a letter to each of the depart
ments expressing his gratitude for the
aid rendered. The last vestige of the
blaze had disappeared at 6 o'clock last
evening. There was no insurance.
Ikirtf-lvr Tanks ml OIL
The explosion of naphtha in the
basement of the east wing of Shop I.
the harness department, started a fire
which gutted out the interior of the
wing, and for a time threatened the
whole shop building. The explosion
occurred in the southeast portion of
the shop, which is devoted to the tank
room, where the harness pieces are
placed in tanks of naptha to soak.
There are 33 of these large tanks,
each holding about a barrel of the li
The tanks had just been opened.
and the eight workmen in the room
were preparing to remove the leathei
from the tanks, when, it is claimed by
some of the workmen. Christian Dan-
ielson. Jr., 131 S Thirty-second street.
Uock Islan J. stepped on a match oi
the floor, igniting the naptha. Daniel-
son and the other workmen in that
portion of the room were floored b
the first explosion, and it was a few
moments before they were able to
make their way to the door. None o(
the workmen were injured seriously,
though all of those in the immediate
vicinity of the tanks were slightly
burned. Danielson and the ot he
workmen suffered the loss of theii
coats, hats. etc.. and their workingaprons
were a mass of flames as they fled
from the basement of the shop. The
alarm was sounded at once, and the
arsenal fire department was on the
scene in very short order.
Mrn Join From Window.
The 700 workmen in the building
became aware of their position at
once, for the dense heavy gases soon
pervaded all parts of the shop. The
workmen rushed madly for the first
means of escape, and those on the
ground floors dashed through the
dense smoke and gas to the windows,
and Jumped to the ground. Those on
the three upper floors hurried to the
elevators and stairways, and nearly ah
were out of the building before the ar
rival of the arsenal firemen. One aged
man became frantic, and fastening &
rope to the railing of the elevatoi
shaft, on the fourth floor, he droppen
it to the ground, and thus slid to safe
About a dozen harness makers, at
wo-k on the third floor of the build
ing, were unable to reach either the
stairway or the elevator, and were
forced to the windows by the gas.
They were rescued from their posi
tions by the arsenal department. The
sight of the men. loaning far out 01
the windows, with smoke and flames
rolling out above them, was what
greeted the soldiers and the spectators
who had surrounded the building. An
extension ladder was placed against
the building, and the men rescued
from their dangerous footings.
Aid from title Called.
Col. Blunt and the other offi
cers in charge at once real
ized the serious nature of the conflag
ration, and a telephone call was sent
to each of the departments of the
three cities. Moiine was the first to
reach the scene, and had a line of hose
playing on the blaze when the Centrals
of Rock I sland.whohad t raveled thetlong
er distance and reached the fire. Daven
port responded with two wagons at
once, and the members of the city de
partments went to work at once to
get the flames under control. Under the
direction of Col. S. B. Blunt and staff
the lines of hose were soon working
to fight the fire away from the main
portion of the building and from the
Loar TuoIm and Clothing.
When the first flames of the explo
sion had cleared away, the workmen
began to go back into the burning
building, and some of them succeeded
in securing their clothing and tool
boxes. Those employed on the lower
(Continued on Pns?e Five.)
Rock Island, Dec. 7. Editor Argus:
Mr. McCaskrin says in his communica
tion in The Argus that specific
charges were filed with the council in
the waterworks case. As a matter of
fact the only charges filed was a copy
of the report taken from the city
clerk's book, showing that $7.40 was
the total amount turned in to the city
clerk from the waterworks depart
ment, as the amount from the sale of
The council did not consider that as
a specific charge, and waited patiently
for over six weeks for some one to
come forth and make affidavit to go on
record that they were willing to sub
stantiate any charges they might
mcke. After six weeks time the city
clerk admits that he had practiced
an old custom, in vogue for over 30
years, of issuing ah order or orders.
and while the council knows that that
power can only be used by order from
the council, yet it has been an old
custom, and the only thing for the
council to do was to bring in a report
of no wrong intent on the part of the
city clerk. It was impossible for the
council to proceed without evidence.
If Mr. McCaskrin or any other citizen
of the city, or of any city, will come
forth and produce evidence, they will
be given an opportunity to be heard.
and I as one member of the council.
will say that the committee of th
whole Is ready to act.
JOHN P. SEXTON.
Rock Island. Dec. 7. Editor Argus:
In reply to G. W. McCaskrin. I will
say that I am standing on the same
grounds now that I stood on at the
opening of this investigation. I will
agree to be one of the 14 to reopen the
case whenever there are specific
charges preferred, but until there are
charges I will take no part. There has
been too much money and labor spent
on this matter already and without
any results for the benefit of the peo
ple. In regard to not calling those
two young men. will state that there
was an invitation to all citizens of
Rock Island to appear and give evi
dence. We could not compel any per
son to attend, as the records show. If
the good name of these boys has been
treated unjustly, it seems to me that
it is their own fault; and it was very
HANDSOME HOME OF JOHN P. LOONEY
IS DAMAGED HEAVILY BY THE FLAMES
unbecoming in them to stay away
from the investigation when their rep
utation was at stake.
I admit that the investigation proved
that there are a great many errors to
be corrected and a great many abuses
to be remedied. But slanderous tongues
will never accomplish it. The person
who assails your character with lying
and brutal speech is more to be dread
ed than the tough who sandbags his
victim, and it seems to me that we
have more slanderers than sandbag
gers in Rock Island.'
I pay more than $100 taxes.
and have the receipt to show,
and I am very anxious to have
honest men at the head of our depart
ments, and I do not intend to sit idly
by and pay salaries to officials who
are guilty of neglect of duty. I am
characterized as a kicker in the coun
cil. I do not intend to sit like a bump
on a log and hang like a wart on the
face of nature and not do my duty. I
have made mistakes since I have been
in the council, and probably will make
some more, but I do not make them in
tentionally. I am for fair play and an
an honest deal. I am no slanderer,
sandbagger or whitewasher. If I -am,
I challenge the world to prove it.
C. Henning, of Mendota, is in the
II. J. Churchill is in Dubuque to
day. W. II. Dart went to Chicago last
F. H. Rahn has returned to his home
at Trenton, Mo., after a visit with
Miss Margaret Pender is in Chicago
attending the wedding of her niece,
Miss Fannie Pender.
M. A. Patterson, assistant general
freight agent of the Rock Island road,
is in the city from Chicago.
Mr. and Mrs. J. F. Hodges have re
turned from a visit to St. Louis, dur
ing which they attended the world's
Mrs. J. H. Coleman and little daugh
ter, Neva, of Keokuk. Iowa, are the
guests of Mrs. L.. O. H. Slusher, 2407
Supervisors Charles Long and R. J
Thompson of La Salle county are in
the city investigating the effect of the
operation of the tax ferrit system here.
Defective Flue in Furnace Room Starts Fire
Which Travels to Upper Floors.
WAS DISCOVERED AT 9:45 LAST EVENING
is Gotten Practically Under Control When it Breaks Out
Afresh in the Partitions Insurance on House.
But Not on Furnishings.
Fire last evening caused a damage
estimated by the owner at $7,000
at the handsome home of John
P. Looney. 1C35 Twentieth street.
The fire, which originated in
the furnace room in the base
ment, burned through the partitions
and practically destroyed the entire
interior finish of the central portion
of the residence.
The flames were first discovered by
Mr. Looney, about 9:45, when he went
to. the furnace room to bank the fire
for the night. He had attended to the
furnace about a half an hour previous
ly, and, as was his custom, had put
in a large quantity of coal.
Woodwork I Ablaze.
The drafts were opened, and no at
tention was paid to the furnace until
Mr. Looney entered the furnace room
and found the woodwork all about the
room ablaze. He at once telephoned to
the fire department, and members of
the family devoted themselves to con
fining the fire to the basement. The
flames in the furnace room had been
extinguished before the arrival of the
department, and when Chief Hastings
and his men entered the building the
fire apparently was out. Chemical?,
were used, and it was fully ten min
utes later, when it was discovered that
the partitions on the upper floors were
in flames. The department, with
chemicals, soon had the fire under con
trol, but not until the partitions and
the rooms on the two upper floors had
been seriously damaged.
Canard By Defective Flue.
The origin of the fire is attributed to
a defective flue of the furnace, lead
ing from the furnace to the chimney.
This pipe is about five feet in length,
and was suspended just below tne
ceiling. When the pipe burned out the
flames were directed against the wood
work, and it is supposed that the tiro
had been burning for about 15 minute
before it was discovered. Neighbor
state that they noticed flames com in;;
from the chimney fully 110 minuie
before the alarm was turned in. but
it was supposed that the chimney lia.l
become so heated that the soot was
The residence is one of the finest
in the city, and was elaborately fin
ished throughout. The finish was of
mahogany, bird's eye maple, quarted
sycamore, and white oak. Just rec nt
ly Mr. Looney had. at a great ex
pense, redecorated the home.
Furniture In Kulneil.
Directly above the furnace the main
stairway Is loeuted. and the stair
were entirely destroyed. Several
large mantles were damaged consid
erably, and the furniture and house
hold goods were greatly damaged.
The floor of the reception hall, which
is over the furnace room, was burned
through, before the arrival of the de
partment. The loss is fully covered by
insurance, held with the Maucker
and Reidy Bros, agencies. No insur
ance whatever was carried on the
household goods, and this damage is
a complete loss to Mr. Ixoney.
Innurnnee of KI.I.IMMI Curried.
The insurance of $15,0)t on the
residence was distributed us follows:
Hanover. N. Y. (Maucker agency),
$5,000; Phoenix. Brooklyn. (Maucker
agency). $5,000; Home, New York.
(Reidy Bros.), $5,000.
The farmer loves the rolling plain,
The sailor loves the sea.
The girls they love their lovers.
And their Rocky Mountain Tea.
T. H. Thomas' pharmacy.
MERE ABLE A FEW OF UEL BIULTMDAY FFEMNGS
WISH IT WERE
OUR SPLENDID 50c FLEEC
ED U N DE RWE AR
OUR SPLENDID 50c RIBBED
THE SPLENDID BARGAINS
AND SOUVENIRS WE
All Our 50c
$1 and $1.25
$1 75 and $2.00
In these days of glaring newspaper promises would it not be wise for prospective buyers to compare prices
and qualities? Comparison is the key which unlocks the door to positive conviction. M. 6c K. court comparison.