THE BOX 52 ASSOCIATION PRESENTS A FEATURE ON THE CHELSEA AMERICAN BARREL FIRE
Article by Frank San Severino
|On Tuesday, May 24, 1974 a five alarm fire struck the American Barrel Company on Carter Street. The first alarm was sounded shortly before 9:00 A.M. and within 20 minutes the walls of the American Barrel Company crumpled. The presence of creosote, a highly flammable substance used to treat barrels fed the flames. In quick succession Deputy Chief William Capistran ordered a second, third, fourth and fifth alarms sounded. Gasses in the building caused the flames to explode with the sound of cannons. Deputy Frederick Resca said heat transference caused the fire to spread to the Murdock Corporation at 158 Carter Street and other surrounding buildings.
|Ponn Machine Cutting Company, 245 Everett Avenue and Leatherstone Inc., 217 Everett Avenue went up in flames. The fire then spread to Chase Parker Company at 211 Everett Avenue, Gans Tire warehouse and Palmer Spring Company before noon. Dense smoke poured out of Gans Tire as heavy aircraft tires burned. Police closed the expressway, Tobin Bridge, Broadway and Everett Avenue to prevent cars from hindering firefighting efforts. State Police arrived at the scene to assist the Chelsea Police. Firefighters opened Chelsea Stadium to house fire apparatus in safety. Firefighters hosed neighboring Thomas Strahan Company and stood watch atop the building to put out fires caused by any flying embers.
Of the thirteen firefighters injured, late Box 52 member Dennis Williams was hospitalized for burns and heat exhaustion.
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