CHILDREN CHEER TO SEE VENTILATORS FALLING IN
Fanned by a fierce wind, a fire burned out of control for more than three hours yesterday in a west-end feed mill, resulting in $300,000 damage and spreading thick smoke over a wide section of the city.
A mid-afternoon coffee break probably saved the 55 employees of the Longworth Feed Mills from death or injury. They were in the cafeteria on the ground floor when the fire broke out and had no difficulty escaping. If they had been on the floor above where they normally work, firemen believe many of them would have had trouble escaping from the blazing plant.
Within, three minutes from the time the fire started on the second story, the whole floor was aflame. Workmen attempted to fight the blaze with extinguishers but were driven back.
So quickly did the flames spread, fanned by the wind, that the fire was out of control by the time firemen arrived three minutes after the blaze was first noticed shortly after 3 p.m. It was the second time in these years the Vine St, plant as had a serious fire.
Firemen feared the front wall of the building might collapse and cleared the street of spectators.
However the wall held through five ventilators crashed amid cheers from the spectators. Many of these were school children who yelled and clapped.
T. L. Longworth manager of the plant, estimated damage at $300,000. He said the plant would have to be almost completely rebuilt. Firemen managed to save a shed at the rear in which cattle-feed was stored, but company officials fear the feed was ruined by water.
Jack Baker, a plant employee, noticed the flames as he returned to work and gave the alarm. The office staff grabbed records and cash and saved them when they saw smoke billowing out the window.
Harry Johnston, plant foreman, made several trips into the plant to save tools and other equipment, and Harry Langford, superintendent of the loading rack, drove a truck with its tarp ablaze to safety.
Firemen, who fought the blaze under District Chief Robert Gaston. Platoon Chief Percy Taylor and Chief Joseph Watermen were still pouring water on the smoldering grain at 9.30 o’clock today.
Note: $300,000 damage figure best estimate on numbers
Note: name Chief Joseph Watermen not clear in source
>>>> Toronto Star 1952