Disastrous Fire at Shipyard Christmas Day: Loss Partially Covered by Insurance.
FIREMEN DANGEROUSLY INJURED: Eddie Eddings Hovering Between Life and Death at Hospital, Recovered Consciousness Yesterday Afternoon [when a] Big Building Destroyed and Steamer Jefferson Damaged. In the most disastrous conflagration In the history of the Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Company, a great two-story, metal covered frame building, located between dry docks, Nob. 1 and 2, was completely destroyed; the Old Dominion liner Jefferson, being lengthened in dry dock No. 1, was damaged to the extent of several thousand dollars; about $10,000 worth of tools owned by workmen were ruined and the destruction of the entire southerly portion of the big plant was threatened about 4 o'clock Christmas afternoon. The total loss is placed at about $200,000 which is fully covered by Insurance. This does not include the damage to the workmen's tools, on which, it is understood no insurance was carried. Fireman Terribly Hurt while heroically fighting the flames on the north side of the burning building, Eddie Eddlngs. a volunteer member of the Eagle Engine Compony No. 3, was struck by a falling mass of burning timbers and sustained injuries which may prove fatal. The unfortunate fireman was hastily carried to the west end of the blacksmith shop, about 100 feet north of the burning building and Dr. Aaron Jeffrey, who was at the fire was summoned. The physician had the injured man put In the Central Fire Company's combination wagon and taken to the General hospital. Eddings May Recover. Upon an examination the physician found that Edding's hip was fractured, his leg broken and his skull injured. He now lays In the General hospital in a precarious condition, suffering from concussion of the brain. The young man was rendered unconscious by the blow and he did not regain consciousness until about 3 o'clock yesterday afternoon. Slight hopes for his recovery are now entertained by Dr. Louis Loeb, who was called to attend the young man last night. Friends of the injured fireman telegraphed the news of the accident to his parents In Richmond early Christmas evening and Mrs. Eddings came down to this city yesterday morning. She went to the bedside of her son at the General hospital and expects to stay with him until his condition improves. John Wilson, a member of the Central fire company, had his left knee cap knocked out place while fighting the fire. He was moved to the General hospital.
Origin of Fire a Mystery. The origin of the fire probably will never be learned. The flames apparently started in the extreme easterly end of the building and, as the plant was closed down and no workmen were around, they had gained considerable headway before a watchman discovered them. He ran to the powerhouse near by and sounded the alarm and a short time afterwards, at exactly 1 minute before 4 o'clock, the shipyard whistle sounded the fire signal.
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