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


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,


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,


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


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


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.


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.



Specially reported for FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING.

On October 24 Chief H. A. McQuade resigned his position as head of the fire department of


in order to be able to devote himself to his business as a plumber and gasfitter. He had served the city well since 1881 as a member of its firefighting corps. He was a charter member and a principal organiser of the old Chattanooga volunteer fire department, and was appointed its first assistant chief in 1871. In 1881 he became head of the department, holding office for one year, when he resigned on account of the claims his business had upon his time. When the paid fire department was established in 1883, he received the appointment of assistant chief, and held that position till 1891, when once more the calls incidental to his business caused him to resign. In 1899, on the retirement of Chief T. S. Wilcox, he was reappointed chief, and continued in that office till last month. He has retired at the age of fifty-two. Former Chief McQuade was born at Nashville, Tenn.. and resided there up to 1870, when he removed to Chattanooga. He proved a most efficient head of the fire department, and hands it over to his successor in admirable condition. As chief, he was very highly esteemed by officers and men, and commanded the fullest confidence of his fellow citizens. As a private citizen he has earned the respect of all, and is followed into his retirement by their best wishes for his success as a business man. He was a well known and prominent member of the International Association of l’ire Engineers, end especially endeared himself to all by the courtesy he showed them when they met in convention at Chattanooga in 1904. His brother members will greatly regret that circumstances render it necessary for him to retire from the ranks of the firefighters. The respect in which the board of public safety of Chattanooga held their late chief is shown by the following resolution, which was spread upon the minutes: “Resolved, That, in accepting the resignation of Chief McQuade, we do so most unwillingly, insofar as the good of the service is concerned and the pleasant personal relations we have borne to, each other: but, in that his private business will be the better for his personal attention, we show for him our friendship and good will, and he has our heartiest good wishes for his future success and welfare, and to express to him our heartfelt appreciation of his ability and faithfulness in the discharge of each and every duty that has developed upon him, and regretting our inability to retain him. And be it further

“Resolved, That this expression of our good will, and these resolutions be spread upon our minutes and a copy be delivered to Chief McQuade.” The new chief of the department is Assistant Chief Win. Toomey, whose place has been taken by John C. C. Garner.


[The above notice was inadvertently omitted in last week’s impression of this paper. ED. F. & W. ENG.]

The first record of a fire department in the city of


was in March 5, 1883, when a number of men, under the leadership of Frederick Ralston, were organised into a volunteer company and equipped at their own cost with a hook and ladder company—the same piece of apparatus being still used by the present fire department. This company was named the Salamander hook and ladder company. On the following March 5 this volunteer company was made into a fire department by the city council, with Frederick Ralston as chief, and thirteen men. The council also bought for the new department two Holloway chemicals, which are still in use. The department was then increased to forty-one members and divided into three companies: Hook and ladder, consisting of twenty-one members; chemical No. 1, nine members; chemical No. 2, eleven members. The apparatus was, of course, drawn by hand. The council then decided to furnish a new room for the department, and on May 18, 1884, built a two story addition to the city hall, in the lower rooms of which the engines were kept. The upper Moor was fitted up into a gymnasium for the firemen. The cost was $1,875. The company purchased twelve rubber coats the next year, which are still used by members of the department. In 18S5. the mayor secured a salary of $1 per month for the firemen, which was raised in 1889 to $2, and has ever since been the pay of the Macomb firefighters. The chemicals were found to he inadequate and it was resolved to install a water system at once. It was voted tor at the spring election of 1889, and a waterworks committee was formed, under whom the system waS completed by January 1. 1894. At the same time the fire department bought 300 feet of nose, two reels, nozzles and nozzleholders and an extension lad der. The next year a fire alarm system, with tower, $250 bell and twelve boxes, was installed at a cost of $700. This system, crude as it it. is still in use. In 1897 an ordinance was passed requiring foreign insurancecompanies to pay two per cent, gross of their nroceeds received in the city. This produced $100 annually towards maintaining the fire de partment. In July of the same year the depart nient moved from its hall quarters to the old Methodist church, the building fixed up for the purpose at a cost of $500. In the August following the first fire team was purchased, at a cost of $rqo, the old bell alarm system was likewise remodeled and nineteen new alarm boxes were added at a cost of $600; a set of drap harness, costing $85, a $450 hose wagon (still in use), and some new hose were added to the equipment. On March 7, 1900, the company purchased a large chemical for $1,000. When the company moved into the new building the council provided for a man to stay at the house both day and night and have the team ready in case of fire. The fire marshals have been as follows since the company was organised as a city department: Fred Ralston, 1884-85; R. T. Quinn. 1885-85; Fred Ralston, 1885-89; R. T. Quinn, 1889-90; Frank Whitman, 1800-93: R. T. Quinn, 1893-97; Frank Whitman, 1897-98; Chas. Applegate, 1898-1900: D. McCaughey, 1900 (the present occupant of the position). Including Chief McCaughey. there are fourteen men in the department, only one of whom is paid full time. The present equipment consists of a combination chemical and hose wagon, three chemical engines, a hook and ladder truck, a hose carriage. 2,600 feet of good hose (cotton, rubber-lined and rubber), electric fire alarm with bell and whistle and thirtv-one boxes. The fire area of the city is forty acres, on which are brick, stone and metal mercantile buildings and wooden private residences, wooden roofs, however, being forbidden. There are nearly too fire hydrants set, with a pressure of too pounds from a standpipe, with a capacity of 35.000 gallons and a reservoir, with a capacity of 85,000.

An aldermanic fire committee has been making a rigid inspection of the fire department of


the result of which is the return of a verdict that, the department is in firstdass shape and that the city, in proportion to its size and population, is as well protected against fire as any in the State Fire headquarters came in for the last inspection. An alarm of fire gave engine No. 11 and truck No. 4 in Niagara street a run just a few minutes before the arrival of the inspection party; but that did not prevent those companies from making a good showing. The hitching record is as follows:


Engine No. 23 is firetug Hutchinson. Time is expressed in seconds; distance, in feet. Chemicals Nos. 1 and 2 were two-horse hitches; the others, three-horse. Chief B. J. McConnel has every reason to be proud of his department. At the close of the inspection, he told Alderman Haffa, chairman of the lire committee, some of the urgent needs of the Buffalo department. Among these came those of the fire alarm telegraph bureau. He pointed out that the room-housing of the intricate and costly machinery through which alarms arc received and sent out is of wood, and recommended a fireproof structure. “We should be in a bad way (said the chief), if a fire should damage our machinery.” Chief McConnell also wants the department wires placed underground. Alderman Haifa said he believed next year’s estimates would include the improvements.

The death of former Fire Commissioner Thomas J. Blake, of Hartford, Conn., is announced. He held the office for twenty-five years, and previous to his coming to Hartford in 1855, had l>een a member of the New York fire department. As soon as he became a resident of Hartford, he joined the fire department of that city and served in various capacities for many years. For twentytwo years consecutively he was elected a fire commissioner and during the last two years of his service on the board was its president.