AN EGYPTIAN FIREBOAT.
A fireboat in use at Alexandria, Egypt, is described by the London Fireman as being of steel,sixty feet long, ten feet, six inches beam, and, with full complement of coal, water, etc., a draught of only eighteen inches, being intended for use in the Mamoudieh canal to protect the cotton warehouses which line its banks, The Fireman continues:
The vessel is divided into three watertight compartments, each fitted with patent steam bilge-ejectors taking steam from the fire engine boiler. The steering is from a wheel placed on deck forward of the engine room; a mast is fitted with block and pulley for light or flag; and a cabin aft provides accom modation for two men. The boiler is Merryweather’s patent fire engine type, vertical, of Lowmoor iron, and fitted with curved and inclined water tubes. Steam can be raised from cold water to 100 pounds pressure within ten minutes of time of lighting the fire, and easily maintained. Whistle, safety valves, pressure gauges, injector and tank, feed pump and feed from main pump are fitted, and the funnel is hinged for passing under bridges. The engine is of the celebrated “Greenwich” pattern, having twosteam cylinders and a pair of double acting gunmetal pumps. The pistons, rods, crankshaft, and cross-heads are of steel.and all the bearings are large and provided with ample means of lubrication. The suction inlets are placed one at each side of the vessel, and a complete system of strainers prevents grit, etc., reaching the pump, and either may be closed to prevent choking the pumps when the boat is against a quay wall or close to the shore with mud one side and deep water the other, as often happens in canals. Six delivery outlets are fitted, each provided with valve and screwed for the connection of hose. The machinery is mounted on a strong wrought iron framing and bolted on to the bottom of the boat. The capacity is 2,000 gallons of water per minute, and a single jet can be thrown to a height of 200 feet. The boat is not intended for sea-going work, and a novel and inexpensive means of hydraulic propulsion has been adopted. At each side of the vessel, just above the water line, a jet pipe is fitted, and the fire engine discharging the water through these astern causes the boat to move ahead. A speed of four miles oer hour can be obtained, and the jets are controled by a pair of handwheels, which enables them to be reversed together or separately, so that the boat can be easily turned in its own length or go astern to leave a dock or narrow canal not wide enough to permit turning. The great saving in the cost of construction, and the simplicity of the system adopted, has many points in its favor By this means a barge carrying a fire engine and boiler can be made self-propelling at a cost of about $250, instead of several hundred being required for propelling engines, shaft, screw, etc. The saving in weight also enables a smaller boat to be used without increasing the draft. Water and coal can be carried sufficient for ten hours continuous steaming, and there is ample stowage for gear. A large hose reel is fitted into the boat forward with watertight hinged covers over same, and carries 3,000 feet of canvas hose. Such a vessel (concludes The Fireman) as the one described above is as useful to a municipality or a dock company as the torpedo destroyer is to the navy. It will travel to the scene of an outbreak and bring to bear such an amount of water as could only be thrown by fifteen ordinary land steam fire engines. There being six hose connections, lines of hose can be taken ashore and a fire surrounded—some jets being thrown from the boat and the others on land.