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Infanta Knitting Mill
27 Jarrett Ave.
February 13, 1995

Located in the center of town, Infanta Knitting Mill was an abandoned three story hosiery factory, measuring 90' x 180'constructed of all brick walls with structural steel supports and heavy timber flooring and roof. Faced with many obstacles, including oil soaked floors, lack of water supply, exposures and the fact the sprinkler system was no longer being maintained, the fire company updated the preplan in 1992. Expecting a worst-case scenario, a meeting was held with mutual aid companies that would respond in the event of a confirmed fire.

 

 
Rockledge Man

On February 13th 1995, shortly before 1:15 PM, children across the street at the Holy Nativity Nursery school were practicing an indoor fire drill. One preschooler, wearing a plastic junior firefighter helmet, looked out the window toward the mill and yelled, "FIRE!" At 1:15 PM, with temperatures below freezing and winds blowing 10-15 miles per hour, Montgomery County emergency 911 center received multiple calls of a mill fire. Stations 9 (Rockledge) , 4 Cheltenham and 8 ( Huntingdon Valley ) were dispatched to 17 Jarrett Ave. Rockledge Deputy Chief saw heavy smoke two blocks away. Knowing that since neighbors reported the call, the wrong address had been dispatched and therefore the automatic dispatch per the preplan was not activated. The deputy immediately requested station 200 (McKinley). Upon arrival of the first engine, the fire company was presented with fire blowing out the 2nd and 3rd floor. Within 10 minutes, the second (Stations: 11, Bryn Athyn; 850,860 Jenkintown; 95 Hatboro) and third (station 500 Roslyn; Eastern Montgomery County Large Diameter Task Force: Oreland, Fort Washington , Wissahickon, Barren Hill, North Penn, Horsham and Colmar ) alarms were struck.

A total of four aerial streams, seven deluge guns and six hand lines in service to protect the exposures and extinguish the fire, totaling 12,000 gallons per minute. It was necessary to evacuate seven houses. Two houses were on either side and the others were directly across the street. The fire was placed under control in 3 1/2 hours.

The fire destroyed the mill. Engine 9-1 lost four lengths of 3” supply line, which melted in the street (the line was charged at the time). A two car garage, next to the mill, containing a car was lost. The house on the right side of the mill had smoke damage and a two- story barn was damaged. Houses across the street suffered melted siding and cracked windows. No one was injured and no homes were lost.