AMONG THE FIRE ENGINEERS
Specially reported for FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING.
Chief Engineer Riley J. Rowley requests that six improvements may be made at once to the fire department of
GREENVILLE, S. C.
First he asks for the installation of the Gamewell fire alarm telegraph system, the present style of summoning the department, of which only seventeen out of forty-seven men are paid full time, the rest being call men, being simply ridiculous for a city of from 25,000 to 30,000 inhabitants, spread over a fire-area of 3,142 acres abounding in wooden buildings and permitted wooden roofs. Second, he considers the department should be housed in headquarters which are at least not unsanitary and unfit to fulfil the purpose intended. Third, a fire station at the Southern Pacific depot should be built at once, before a heavy loss is sustained in that section of the city. Fourth, a double team should be placed at the West End station. Anyone who sees the condition to which the one solitary horse there is reduced, after answering an alarm in the East End, would be con vinced that the request is at least reasonable. Fifth, a combination wagon is wanted in these days when “no fire department is in any way near complete without one.” Sixth, he urges that two more men (presumably full paid) be added to the personnel of the department. The valuation of the property of the Greenville fire department is only $7,000, while that of Darlington, with a population of not quite half as many, is set down at something over $15,000, and that of Spartanburg, with about the same number, is returned at something over $12,000. During the year fiftytwo alarms were responded to; the department stretched 14,250 ft. of hose; raised 393 ft. of ladders; and used 243 gals, of chemicals. The buildings endangered were valued at $140,915; thencontents, at $487,585—total endangered. $628,500. insured as a whole for $428,966.66. The loss on buildings was $7,363.10; on contents, $9,931.72total, $17,294.82—the total insurance loss being $10,242.32. The smallness of the total loss shows that the fire protection of Greenville is in competent hands. *
The comparatively insignificant sum of $700 covers the fire loss of
for 1906—the smallest but one on record in that city, the loss in 1903 having been only $290. During the year, the department responded to eighty alarms, the value of property at risk being in the aggregate several hundreds of thousands of dollars. The difference between that amount and the $700 loss, speaks well for Chief W. T. Mc Carthy and his men. Americus, it may be added pays something like $100,000 annually in insurance premiums, and the average yearly low rate of loss in the city should cause the insurance to be lowered.
The following is a summary of the results of the investigation by the inspectors of the National Board of Fire Underwriters into the condition of the fire protection at
Fire Department Part full paid and part call men. Companies undermanned and depend on inefficient call men for their strength. One engine in service; in fair condition; one engine in reserve, capacity sufficient only for one good fire stream. Ladder-service lair. Chemical-service fair. Supply of hose adequate. Service, as a whole, inefficient.
Fire Alarm System—binder the supervision of an engineer of the fire department; management efficient. Apparatus at headquarters in good condition. Circuits overhead and in good condition. Some boxes not provided with keys, or keyless doors. Distribution fair in some portions of the city; in others, poor. Tests fairly satisfactory. Service fairly reliable.
Fire Department Auxiliaries—Co-operation of lire marshal, fair. Police department satisfactory. Telephone-service for fire alarm satisfactory. Powerful outside aid available.
Water Supply—An adequate supply from mains of the Metropolitan system is furnished to a distribution system owned by the municipality; supply main to high-service not in duplicate. Cons unption moderate. Pressures generally satisfactory. Main arteries and secondary feeders of fair size and generally well supported. A considcrable proportion of distributing mains too small. About twenty-five per cent, of the length of mains in service arc cement. Gate valves widely spaced on some important mains. Hydrants well distributed in important sections; in residential sections often widely spaced; many of unsatisfactory type; in fair condition.
Summary -Water supply adequate. Available in sufficient quantities in most of the important sections; in some outlying sections insufficient, owing to faults of the distribution system Fire department inefficient and not capable of handling serious fires. Tire alarm system fairly reliable.
Conflagration-Hazard The conflagration-hazaid of the city as a whole is normal; the lack of adequate building laws, the large amount of frame construction, with wooden shingle roofs, and the weakness of the fire department seriously increase the hazard; but the satisfactory water supply in most districts, fairly reliable fire alarm system and the powerful outside aid are mitigat mg features, making a sweeping fire a remote possibility in districts other than the principal mercantile, where, owing to the congestion of buildings, the majority of which are frame, a serious fire is possible.
The recent inspection of the fire department of
was a very satisfactory one to all concerned, and proved that the men are among the most proficient in the service. Such records as were made could scarcely be beaten, if they could be equaled by the best departments in the country. Here are some of the higher creditable performances recorded on the occasion, as published in a local paper: “Exhibitions of great speed were made at each of the eight houses inspected; but the ‘Holly hose’ made the record performance, executing the bed hook in six seconds, which surpasses all former records. Hook and ladder No. 1 made the best time in the stallhook trials, making an average of three threequarter seconds. Honors in the pole-hitch were divided between hose company No. 5 and hose company No. 7, each crew making an average of less than one-half second. Both of these performances were wonderful. Steamer No. 1 started out to beat this record, and had it until the third hitch, when they lost it by two-fifth seconds. As a result of the inspection, the fire and water committee will recommend in the annual appropriation bill, provision for a steamer for the downtown district. The growth of the city and the addition of tall buildings advise this improvement. All the fire stations and equipment were in tip-top shape and Mayor Tolson was enthusiastic in his praise of the most efficient department for a city of its size in the United States. With a greatly increased number of alarms over 1905, the record of Peoria’s fire alarms for 1906 shows the same excellent service on the part of the firemen. Up to November 30 the number of alarms had been 378, those of December, with an accurate return of the losses of the whole year, having yet to be made up. So far as concerns the manual force, Chief Tendering needs six additional men–three for the truck companies. He also recommends that steamer No. 2 should at once be placed in commission for service in the business district, and the big truck be placed there, instead of the lighter one. He would likewise have the South Peoria firehouse brick-veneered and remodeled, so as to accommodate a hose company for the protection of the distilleries, factories and many residences there. On the West Bluff, also, a new house should be built adjoining that of hose company No. 3, to be equipped with a new truck. A secotid assistant chief to take charge of that district is also needed. There are in service at the present time eight two-horse hose wagons; two combination two-horse hose and chemicals, with 50-gal. tanks; one two-horse, double 80-gal. Champion chemical engine; two 50 ft. extension, two-horse, city service ladder trucks; one three-horse, 85-ft., aerial, extension ladder; one two-horse, second-size Ahrens steam lire engine; and twelve portable hand-chemicals. There are, besides, the following volunteer fire companies: Nos. 1 and 2, with two Howe combination chemical and hand-engines; No. 4, with one hand-hose cart, and one four-wheel hose carriage. It requires seventy-tivo paid and uniformed men to man this equipment, and a feature of the year was the increase of their pay $5 per month. The department has to lament the loss of Captain Cassius Wonder, a fireman of twenty-three-years’ service, who lost his life in a barn fire, when the roof fell upon hint and Assistant Chief Dennis O’Connell, Captain Wonder received fatal injuries and Assistant Chief O’Connell was very badly hurt. The flames in the building had been extinguished when the crash came and caught them in the loft. During the year. Chief Arthur Tendering and his men had their work set. They performed it admirably.