Abstracts of Fire Department Reports.

Abstracts of Fire Department Reports.

BALTIMORE, MD.—The report of the fire commissioners calls attention to the unprotected condition of the harbor, and says an expenditure during last year for a fireboat would have saved from destruction an amount of property several times in value the cost of such a boat. It is an absolute necessity, the board says, that a fireboat should be provided and a new engine company organized in the centre of the city. In 1889 there were 545 fires, the losses aggregating $465,090. In 1888 there were 602 fires, causing losses amounting to $1,274,478.82. The estimate for running the department during 1890 is $237,479.25. including $156,200 fdf salaries and $23,975 for the police and fire alarm telegraph. The estimate for the annex is $35,235.82. Charles S. McAleese, superintendent of the police and fire alarm telegraph, in his report in connection with that of the fire board, says the extraordinary number of accidents from contact with the electric light currents during the year 1889 has so thoroughly aroused the people from one end of the United States to the other that there is but one sentiment expressed, and that most positively demands that all wires shall go under ground. “ The terrible experience of other cities,” he says, “ should be a warning to us, for while we have been most fortunate in having but few accidents to record, still, with every possible cart, the fact must be recognized that death lurks in each and every overhead wire. The opposition to underground wires comes, ol course, from the companies directly interested, who would not only meet with considerable loss from abandoning their overhead plant, which would be almost destroyed in the cities, but it would also cause a temporary strain on their finances to place cables under ground.” Mr. McAleese says that during the past year eight new fire alarm boxes were erected, and that eleven more are needed. The total amount appropriated by the council last year to the fire department was $232,063.53, all of which has been expended except seventy-two cents. For the annex $16,206 75 was appropriated, and $8,179.98 allowed for salaries by order of the city solicitor, making $24,386.73. There is a deficiency in this department of $3,860.82. Chief Engineer Hennick reports that there are 239 firemen in the city and 25 in the annex, making a total of 264. There are five substitutes to each company who give their services to the department without compensation, except when on duty for regular members. These substitutes are in the line of promotion. The chief engineer also urges the importance of provision being made for a fire boat, which would be of service for fires on vessels and buildings near the waterfront. The loss by fires reported for the past year, Mr. Ilennick says, does not include the damage caused by fire on the steamship John Hopkins, which burned in the middle of the harbor, beyond the reach of the fire department, causing a loss of $190,000.

LOWELL, MASS.—Chief Hosmer of the fire department, reports that the appropriation altogether amounted to $94,957.48, all of which was expended. Of the money paid out $57,092.57 was for salaries, $9,968.99 for hydrants, $4000 for a steamer, $1600 for four new hose wagons, $1,734.75 for new hose, pipes and repairs, $394.67 for veterinary attendance and medicine, $1,909.73 for coal, $720 for rent, $574.64 for gas. The department consists of the chief engineer, fire alarm superintendent, eight hosemen, six laddermen, eighteen drivers, four engineers of steamers, three .patrolmen, four chemical enginemen, four assistant engineers and ninety-five call men, a total of 144 men. There are four fire engine companies, three hose companies, two hand hose companies, three hook and ladder companies and one patrol company. During the year six call and one permanent man were appointed, three resigned and eight were transferred. Chief Hosmer recommends that the force be augmented annually in order to keep pace with the growth of the city. The apparatus of the department is kept in the best possible condition. Valuable acquisitions have been made to the service during the year by a first-size Amoskeag fire engine and four new horse hose carriages.

Abstracts of Fire Department Reports.

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Abstracts of Fire Department Reports.

NEWARK, N. J.—Owing to the fact that the fire department was changed last year to a full paid force, the fire commissioners will need the full appropriation allowed by law for the expenses of the department this year. Last year they required but $143,452. Apparatus in active use; Steamers, II; hook and ladder trucks, 3; hose carriages, 8; hose wagons, 3; chemical engine, I; steamers in reserve, 2; hook and ladder in reserve. I. Number of officers and men: Chief engineer,

1; assistant chief engineer, I; district engineer, 1 ; clerk at headquarters, 1 ; captains, engineers and drivers of engines, 33 ; captains, drivers and tillermen of hook and ladder trucks, 9 ; captain and driver of chemical engine, 2 ; drivers of hose carriages and wagons, 11 ; men assigned to the companies, 55 ; total, 114. In addition there are attached to the department : One auperintendent of the fire alarm telegraph, two linemen, three watchmen on the bell tower, one janitor at headquarters and one driver for chief engineer, making eight additional men and a fatal of 122 men in the department. •• During the past year,” says the Mayor, “one more rut has been abandoned, and the fire alarms are no longer sounded on the church bells, and I have great hopes that the three watchmen on the bell tower will Ire relieved from their duty of calling the entire city to the windows in the hope of seeing the chief engineer of the firedepartment pass in his gig.”

EASTON, I’a.—Chief Smith of the fire department reports for last year thirty fires and alarms of fire, entailing a total loss of $17,881,011 which an insurance amounting to $4871 was paid. The membership of the department is unchanged —l chief, I assistant chief, 3 foremen, t acting foreman, 3 engineers, 3 firemen of engines. 4 drivers, 19 hose men, 3 laddermen and a tiilerman. The chief, 1 engineer, 4 drivers and the tiilerman give their entire time to the service. The remainder are call men. The city has 1800 feet of cotton hose and 4300 feet of rubber hose in good condition, 3 steamers, 5 hose carriages, 2 hook and ladder trucks and 1 ambulance ; 14 miles of wire, 25 alarm boxes, 1 private box (Opera House), 6 stations for telephone calls, to alarm gongs and 2 tower bells, (strikers). There are 36 signal-box keys in the hands of citizens. There are 7 horses, several sets of swinging ami working harness, 3 street sprinklers, 2 wagons, 80 fire plugs and 3 cisterns. The entire fire property and real estate is estimated to be worth $47,411.75. The chief recommends that the signal service be extended to Rinek’s rope factory, Williams’ mill and the silk mill, and says more fire plugs are needed. He protests against the frequent calling up of the central tire station by the police at unreasonable hours at night for the purpose of getting the patrol wagon to haul drunken men to police headquarters. When the telephone rings every man in the fire station jumps from his bed into his clothing, expecting that a fire is raging, and the annoyance is considerable. The chief suggests that authority to inspect electric light wire fastenings inside and outside of buildings, be given to some official clothed with power to compel conformity to safety. He recommends that a horse be added to the equipment of the company on College Hill, that the janitor’s salary of $100 be increased to that of a driver and the company be thus rendered more efficient. The horse could be used for certain kinds of work and would pay for itself and the driver.

NEWPORT, R. I.—In his annual message the Mayor says: “ I believe that this department of our city was never in such salisfactory condition. This community has been spared the calamity of conflagration that has befallen so many towns and cities. We have had very few fires during the municipal year; the property destroyed does not exceed $5000. Many tests have been made of the readiness of the department to render prompt and efficient service ; thereby they are the better prepared for fires that may at any moment demand even the lives of the firemen. In each house of the department a horse is in readiness, well trained for instant service with the reels ; there should also be in one or more of the engine houses two horses ready for instant service with the engine. With an abundance of water from each fire hydrant the department would then be well prepared for any service. The pressing need seen by me in the personal inspections, as well as when I was with the city council on its inspection, is a house for Hose Company No. 6. The building now leased is very small, and off the street. It is a well organized and efficient company, having an excellent hose reel and in a section needing and deserving a well arranged house. I earnestly recommend the purchase of land and erection of a house. Hydrants should be placed on several of the wharves, near the harbor, as they would be an important element in saving property. With the tugboat to be here permanently, appliances should be thereon to be availed of quickly if a fire is upon either wharf. I regard the use of such a steam tug in case of fire as an element of safety. With equipments in readiness we may avert a devastating fire. There were greater objections to the first steam fire engine voted for here than to all the others and all else in our fire department.”

SCRANTON, I’a.—According to Chief Madison 102 fire alarm signal boxes were pulled last year. Ninety-six actual fires occurred, making about twice the number of the year previous. This gives an average of nearly two fires per week. The fire loss has been about $200,000, but outside of two or three notable ones the loss was not very heavy, considering the increased number of fires that occurred. No loss of life or any serious accidents occurred during the year. Signal box No. 15, located on Lackawanna avenue at the Scranton House, carries off the honor of having been pulled eleven times. Box No. 22, corner of Wyoming avenue and Spruce street, follows next, having been pulled ten times. Chief Engineer Madison will give a report in full, commencing April 1, 1889, and ending March 31, 1890, showing the work of the department, its condition, an inventory of all the city property used in the service, list of fires and alarms, and giving the loss, insurance paid, cause of fires as far as possible, location of signal boxes, fire hydrants, erection of fire escapes, etc. In sending in the estimate the chief of fire department shows where the several amounts are to be expended and he has repeatedly warned the councils of the great danger the city is in, and the urgent need of more hose, fire hydrants, and the utmost importance of procuring horses and one permanent man in each of the four houses in the central part of the city to get the fire apparatus out quickly, cannot be too strongly impressed on the minds of the councils.