A SUGGESTION OPEN TO OBJECTIONS.
A correspondent in another column submits a suggestion clipped from a daily paper and comments upon it favorably. It is just such communications as this that this journal likes to receive from its readers. FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING stands very much in the relation of a forum to its readers, and its correspondence page is at their service to the full extent of its space for the discussion of all subjects of interest to the fire and water departments. As regards this particular suggestion of a combined fireboat and icebreaker, while it certainly has the advantage of economy in combining the two functions in one unit, there are, on maturer thought, some objections to such a plan. The most important and, it would seem, vital objection is the divided service such a combination would entail. A fireboat, in common with all other branches of the fire department, must at all times be ready for instant service. If, then, while this combination vessel should be at one point engaged in the work of breaking a passage through the ice, a fire of considerable magnitude should occur at a distance, the delay in reaching the scene of the conflagration might mean the loss of many more thousands than the sum saved by the combination of the two functions in one boat. Another objection that occurs is the fact that an icebreaker must of necessity be built on heavy lines, which means a slow-moving craft, while the element of speed is absolutely essential in a fireboat.