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Philadelphia, PA freight depot fire, Mar 1904

DISASTROUS FIRE IN FREIGHT DEPOT

FLAMES SWEEP THROUGH PENNSY STATION AT THIRTIETH AND MARKET AND CONSUME VALUABLE GOODS

A fire which broke out in the Pennsylvania Railroad freight station, at Thirtieth and Market streets, shortly after 3 o'clock yesterday morning, resulted in almost the total destruction of the building and consumed a quantity of valuable freight awaiting shipment. The loss is roughly estimated at from $30,000 to $45,000.

The flames were discovered by James Dudley, the night watchman, in the room at the western end of the building, used for storage of unclaimed freight. Dudley gave the alarm, but by the time the engines arrived the fire was raging almost the entire length of the shed. Owing to the peculiar location of the station, considerable difficulty was experienced in fighting the flames. When the blaze was finally extinguished, little of the western portion of the building was remaining except the walls, where the firemen succeeded in confining the flames.

The depot was filled with freight awaiting shipment and two trains of empty cars stood near the shed ready for loading. Engineer William Armstrong, in charge of locomotive No. 493 L, saw the smoke emerging from the building. He ran his engine into the shed and succeeeded in rescuing the standing cars. Four clerks who were at work in the office of the building succeeded in saving a quantity of valuable papers by placing them in a vault. It is expected that the destruction of the freight in the depot will cause great confusion among those who were shipping their goods to various points.

The freight station was built seventeen years ago and was a plain brick structure of the shell type. The temporary office of the construction department of the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company was also threatened with destruction, but was finally saved through the efforts of the firemen.

The Philadelphia Enquirer, Philadelphia, PA 26 Mar 1904

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