AMOMG THE FIRE ENGINEERS
Specially reported for FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING.
The South Eastern Tariff association has been considering what it claims to be the serious situation in the matter of fire protection at
and a number of plans have been proposed to bring about improvement. The recent fires, especially that in the Moore Handley block, have caused the fire insurance companies generally to consider either a wholesale reduction of lines or retirement from the city entirely. It is believed that a conflagration is imminent at any time, and, unless public sentiment can be aroused, there will be much greater losses than ever before. Some special agents go so far as to say that Birmingham is a hopeless case, and that there is no prospect of profit in the near future whatever. There will probably be a special committee of the South Eastern Tariff Association appointed to visit Birmingham and look into the situation carefully at an early date.
General Inspector William H. Johnson, of the National Board of Fire Underwriters, has completed his examination of the fire protection facilities of
NEW ROCHELLE, N. Y.,
and, speaking of the liability of a conflagration in that town says: “Throughout the town limits, especially within the business section, there artmany obi frame buildings with shingle roofing of highly combustible construction and hazardous occupancy, especially along both sides of Main and Mechanic streets, the latter thoroughfare but thirty feet in width from house lines. Serious fires are liable to occur, gaining headway and extending to opposite property. The fire hazard is greatly increased, mainly owing to the excessive amount of waste material, such as empty oil barrels, packing boxes, excelsior and rubbish of highly combustible character, remaining sometimes for months in yards, cellars and near open cellar ways of many of the mercantile buildings. Thee fire department service and equipment have been greatly improved. The department is prompt in answering alarms and does good ser vice at fires. The supply of water and pressure are ample for fire protection,” He makes several recommendations, the chief of which are: “There is an urgent necessity for the enactment by city council of laws governing the construction and inspection of all buildings and their hazardous contents; also an ordinance regulating the storage and sale of oils, combustibles and explosives “The accumulation of empty barrels, boxes, ex celsior and other combustible material in yards, cellars, cellar-ways and near elevator openings should be strictly prohibited by ordinance.”
An hysterical rush of the female employes of two underwear manufacturers took place at 88 Meserole street,
BROOKLYN, N. Y.,
where a fire started in the basement and, made its way up the elevator shaft, filling the halls with dense smoke and cutting off escape by elevator or stairways. The most of the women and girls made their way at once to the fire escapes attd caused a bad jam. Others hung from the windows till they were were rescued by the firemen. Nets were spread by the firemen above the sidewalk on the Leonard street side and four of the hysterical girls dropped into one front a third-story window. All landed safely but one, who was severely injured and had to be taken to the hospital. It was a sensational, smoking, three alarm fire, and was kept well under eon trol by the fireman. The building and its con tents were drenched from top to bottom, and every window on both sides was smashed by the streams of water poured from the various lines of hose. The loss was about $40,000.
A had fire was caused by the breaking of gapipes in two burning paper-box factories Nos. 61 ami 63 Crosby street,
MANHATTAN, NEW YORK.
The blaze broke out early in the morning and was discovered by the police, who were certainly very much awake. Both factory buildings are old dwellinghouses, converted to their present use. T he flames originated on the second floor at No, 63. A policeman on the beat was startled by an explosion which blew out the front windows. He ran to the quarters of engine No. 20, in Marion street, near by, and gave the alarm. Capt. Hall of that company, when he reached the fire, turned in a second alarm. A third quickly followed, bringing the water tower, which did effective work. The crews of engines Nos. 20 and 72 and truck No. 9, entering the burning factories, found that there was a large leak of gas somewhere. Men began to drop at every nozzle. Their comrades passed them back to the fresher air, and, when they revived, they went back again. Every man in the three companies was overcome at least twice, and most of them more than that. Six firemen of engine No. 20 were overcome four times, and Capt. Hall himself was overcome twice. As there was no fire department surgeon on the scene, Fire Chaplain Smith gave first aid treatment to the unconscious men as they w-ere dragged out. After an hour’s work the firemen succeeded in controling the blaze; but it was not until two or three hours later, owing to the stubborn nature of the fire, that it was out. The roof of No. 63, where the fire started, was burned off, and all the floors fell in, and the upper part of No. 61 was badly damaged.
On the night of November it, the entire fire alarm system of
NEW ORLEANS, LA.
was rendered useless through the destruction of the circuit box at Saratoga and Lafayette streets, and the engines and police depended alone upon the telephone service for the fire call. The wooden circuit box, properly insulated, was attached to a tall, heavy pole, and in it the terminal wires joined the main cable, which ran to the fire alarm office in the city hall. During the heavy rain the box was seen to burst into flames suddenly. The city electrician, with a force of men, was promptly on the scene of the accident, and made a thorough examination. The damage was great, not so much from a monetary standpoint, but from the fact that it rendered altogether useless the entire fire alarm system. The city electrician put a force of men to work at once, and the system was in working order again the next day. When it became known that the fire alarm system was not working, every enginehouse in the city was telephoned to, and instructions were issued to all the police and private watchmen that in the event of a fire they were to telephone to the fire alarm office, and the message would be sent on the department’s private switchhoard to all the enginehouses at one time. Private watchmen in the business district were told to use the National automatic alarms. It was said that the box either caught fire from a crossed w ire or was struck by lightning, the officials are not quite satisfied which.
The first annual report of William C. McAfee, fire marshal for the
STATE OF MARYLAND.
for the year ending May 5. 1005, indicates that the year has been one of the most active of the eight years that the office has been in existence. It is shown in the report that there was a slight increase in the numher of fires in Baltimore during tlie year, and there was a decrease in the number in the counties. The number of fires reported in the counties was 378. and the investigation of those which seem suspicious carried the State fire marshal into every county, except four. The total reported loss in the counties was $102,705.36. This was nartlv covered by insurance to the amount of $49,067.04. In Baltimore fire occurred in 1.340 buildings and destroyed property valued at $384,659.01. This amount was partly covered by insurance amounting to $376,204.01, which left a net loss of only $8,445, showing how well property in the eitv is nrotected by insurance. Regarding the indiscriminate storage of gunpowder and other explosives. State Fire Marshal McAfee asks for a stringent law regarding how and where they mav he placed. He says that a careful search of the code fails to reveal any lawcovering this point. Speaking of fires and firehugs and the difficulty of securing evidence that would convict a suspect, the fire marshal asserts that in many cases the moral effect of a rigid investigation had as much influence as a conviction on an arson charge.
FIRE CHIEFS TO CONFER.
Chief John Stagg, president of the International Association of Fire Engineers, has summoned all fire chiefs interested in the suggestions made by Chief Allen, of Trenton, N. J., in his paper read at the Duluth convention of September last to a conference at Paterson, N. J., with the intention of creating a somewhat greater interest among fire chiefs and officials in the annual convention. It is announced by Secretary McFall that the following additions have been made to the ranks of the association: J. T. Conroy, Munising, Mich.; Ray R. Reading, Hot Springs, Ark.; Ernest Arnold, jr., of Sherman, Tex.; Edward Trickett, Kansas City, Mo.; J. B. Mayor, Lead City, S. Dak.; W F. Clark, Naugatuck, Conn.; N. W. Bunker, Cambridge, Mass.; M. H. Duncan, Greenville, Miss., and Thomas O’Leary, Houston, Texas.—Some clays before the end of the present month it is expected that the official report of the Duluth convention will be in the hands of the members.—Chief Magee, of Dallas, Tex., next years’ convention city, his department and the citizens have already began to make preparations for the gathering. They are arranging committees and settling the local program in anticipation of being called upon to entertain quite a number of fire chiefs.