Annual Report of the Fire Department of Norwich
The city of Norwich, New London county, Conn., was settled in 1659 and incorporated a city, 1784. The area of the town is 26 3/10 square miles and of the city 5 7/10 square miles. The population is about 30,000. Water works system, gravity, owned by the city. Capacity of Fairview reservoir, 450,000,000 gallons. Capacity of Stony Brook reservoir, 388,000,000 gallons. Elevation of overflow at Fairview, 248J4 feet. Elevation of overflow at Stony Brook. 267 feet. Miles of mains, about 66. Number of fire hydrants, public and private, 535. Pressure at hydrants, 8 to 100 pounds. Average pressure in the business district, 85 pounds. Greatest height of buildings in the city, six stories. Class of buildings in the business district mostly brick and stone. The board of fire commissioners is composed of Jeremiah J.Desmond, mayor; Alderman Joseph A. George, chairman; Councilmen, Earl Mathewson, John R. Fowler. The officers of the department are: Chief, Howard L. Stanton; Deputy Chief, Edward F. Stinson; department physician, Louis T. Cassidy, M. D. The force of the department consists of permanent, 26; call, 16; volunteers, average working force, 20; total, 62. The department is divided as follows: Engine Co. No. 1— Apparatus, Seagrave auto, triple combination hose, chemical and pump; rated capacity, 750 gallons per minute; Truck Co. No. 1—Dedrick aerial truck, 65-foot ladder, horse drafn; Chemical Co. No. 1— Pope automobile, combination hose and chemical, 40-gallon tank; Chemical Co. No. 2—Cadillac automobile, combination hose and chemical, two 25-gallon tanks; Chemical Co. No. 3—Combination hose and chemical, single 25-gallon tank, horse drawn; Engine Co. No. 2—Volunteer. Metropolitan steam fire engine, horse drawn, capacity 500 gallons per minute; also a combination hose and chemical, horse drawn, __ single 25-gallon tank; Truck No. 2—Volunteer. Light Seagrave truck, horse drawn, 45-foot extension ladder.
In his annual report Chief Stanton tells the council there has been a very small fire loss the past year ending June 30, 1918. During the year the department responded to 193 alarms of fire. Of this number 34 were bell alarms, 125 were telephone alarms, and 34 were still or verbal alarms, seven more than reported last year. Also of the above number of fires 14 were out of the city, and in one case the department responded to the village of Baltic, nine miles out of the city, and assisted in saving considerable valuable property. The quick response of motor apparatus to fires when first discovered, with a crew of trained men, is responsible for the small loss sustained the past three years, as many fires attended had the appearance and were so located that a large fire could have resulted.
The Norwich department, like all fire departments throughout the country, has been seriously handicapped by the war. Several of the best men from the permanent and call force enlisted or were called by the draft, prior to the law making certain exemptions for firemen. Also the two vounteer companies felt the draft call, which has seriously reduced the man power of the department. The above conditions, coupled with deaths and resignations, has made the past year one to be remembered, for men could not be obtained for fire service as the munition plants were attracting many by the larger wages paid.
All fire stations have had some slight repairs except the central station, which was painted outside, and that part of the station formerly used to stable the chief’s horse was made into a lounging room for the men after the purchase of a car for the chief. Also at Chemical Station No. 2, West Side, quite extensive repairs were made on the first floor of this station after motor apparatus was installed. According to the chief, some repairs will have to be made at all other stations to keep them up as city property should be.
The department was improved the past year by the purchase of a Reo six-cylinder runabout for the chief and a rebuilt Cadillac eight cylinder chassis, made into a double 25-gallon tank, combination chemical and hose car, thus displacing the chief’s horse and the two horses at Chemical No. 2 station, where the rebuilt Cadillac chemical and hose is assigned. Chief Stanton recommended in former reports that the entire department should be motorized at the earliest possible date. The motor apparatus in service at present are one Seagrave triple combination, pump capacity 750 gallons; one Pope-Hartford combination chemical and hose, 40 gallon tank; one Cadillac combination chemical and hose, double 25 gallon tanks; one Reo sixcylinder runabout, used by the chief; one Buick six-cylinder runabout, used by the deputy chief. The horse drawn apparatus in service are one Dedrick aerial truck, 65 foot extension ladder; one Seagrave light city truck, 45 foot extension ladder; one-third size Metropolitan engine; one-fourth size Metropolitan engine; two combination chemical and hose wagons, single 25 gallon tanks; three exercise and supply wagons; twenty-five three gallon fire extinguishers.
Hydrants and Cisterns.
There are 457 public hydrants and 78 private hydrants subject to public use in case of fire. Several new hydrants were installed by the water department and larger mains laid in several streets which has improved the fire flow at these points. W’hile the past winter was very severe the fire department escaped any serious difficulty on account of frozen mains and hydrants, although several were frozen. The number of fire cisterns remain as in previous reports, fourteen located in the center of the city, all connected to the city mains, with a capacity of 5,000 to 8,000 gallons.
In concluding his report, Chief Stanton says: “To the retiring mayor, Hon. Allyn L. Brown, and the board of fire commissioners, for their uniform courtesy and assistance in all things looking toward the betterment of the department, I return my most sincere thanks. Also to the officers and members of the department for their support and assistance at all times I extend thanks. I am also under obligations to the several city departments, police, water, street and light, for many courtesies shown.’’