AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF JOHN FRITZ II7
men enough to have them aU brought up at once. I directed another party to get the ladders, fire hose, buckets, ropes, and hooks. As soon as the blankets and carpets came, the blankets were wet and the best men wrapped themselves in them, and ladders were gotten ready. For¬ tunately the roof on the end of the shop next to the miU was low and quite flat, so the men could walk on it readily. In a few minutes the roof was covered with carpets and blankets and two streams of water were playing on them. By the time the men got down off" the roof the steam was rising oft" the carpets and it was so hot that we were fearful that the shop would share the fate of the mill. The crucial time would be when the miU building feU, and it was im¬ portant which way it fell. If it feU in, the shops would be safe; if out, then another hard fight was before us. The next few moments were of intense strain and excitement. But, if the walls fell out, we were prepared, as we had hooks, chains, and ropes ready, to puU the falUng and unburned timbers away. I had instructed the foreman in each de¬ partment to have his men all organized, and go to the foundry, get all the chains there were tliere, and ropes, hooks, etc., so that they could fasten to the charred and un¬ burned timbers and puU them away from the engines and aU important machines. I directed all to be at their places the moment the building feU, free the macliinery from heat as quickly as possible, and see there was no water put on the machinery. Fortunately our suspense was of short duration. In less than one hour from the time the fire started, the whole building was lying on the ground, a mass of rum. When the building fell, it aU feU inward, to our great reUef.
The situation of Cambria affairs on that Saturday night was such as might appall the bravest heart. The result of our unremitting labors and anxieties lay there, a mass