Springfield, MA Four Buildings Burn, Jan 1907

Springfield MASS Phelps Publishing Co. Building.jpg



Springfield, Mass., Jan. 28. -- The entire plant of the PHELPS Publishing Company, comprising four buildings and covering nearly an acre of ground, was destroyed by fire today, causing a loss estimated at almost $1,000,000. No one was injured. The fire started from spontaneous combustion among some benzine-soaked rags in the basement of the main building. In addition to this structure, which was four stories in height, there was another four-story building, one five stories in height and a fourth of two and a half stories, all being connected by passageways. All the buildings were of brick. They were located on West Worthington street. The firm publishes the following magazines: Good Housekeeping, American Agriculturist, Judd Farmer, New England Homestead and Farm And Home. Arrangements already have been made for the publication of these journals in New York and other cities until the plant can be rebuilt.

The fire was first discovered by the watchman in the basement of the main building. He extinguished the blaze in the rags and continued on his rounds. The rags again became ignited, however, and the building quickly caught fire. A passer-by saw flames bursting from the rear of the main building, and quickly sounded the alarm. The automatic sprinklers with which the buildings were equipped failed to work properly, and by the time the firemen arrived the flames had spread so rapidly that it was impossible to save the plant. Only the entire absence of wind prevented the fire from communicating to other buildings, as the plant stood in the heart of the congested business district, with many wooden buildings near by. As soon as it was seen that the PHELPS plant was doomed the firemen turned their attention mainly to the work of saving surrounding structures, which they wet down thoroughly.

As no one but the watchman was in any of the buildings when the fire broke out at an early hour, and he had ample time to escape, there were no fatalities and the firemen escaped injury. All the buildings, containing a large amount of valuable machinery, including expensive color presses, were burned out. HERBERT MYRICK, president of the the company, stated that the total loss on buildings, machinery and paper stock would be very nearly $1,000,000, practically covered by insurance. About 450 persons are thrown out of employment by the destruction of the plant, which was one of the finest of its kind in New England.

Newport Daily News Rhode Island 1907-01-28