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.