AUXILIARY PIPE LINES.
An auxiliary pipe line for fighting fires in cities independently of the water supplied by the Croton aqueduct commissiouto the citizens ot New York now seems to be a probability in the near future. These pipes are found at Cleveland, Ohio, (where such a pipe line was first introduced) Detroit, Milwaukee, and Buffalo, and are now being laid in Boston, whither President Sheffield, of the board of fire commissioners, of this city,Chief Bonner and Engineer Crowell, went to inspect the system. If laid in this city from the East and North rivers.they would render excellent service, especially in the downtown dry goods district, where hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of property might be menaced by fire, and, in case of any accident to the regular water supply, the loss would be enormous. The idea is not new,and though the underwriters opposed the project in the beginning (as some oppose it today) on the ground that to throw salt water upon a burning building would act upon stored goods as would the liquid from a chemical engine, and that the consequent destruction would be very great, still the system is sure to be inaugurated. In any case, many tons of salt water are yearly poured by the fireboats upon burning buildings along the river fronts and no outcry against damage done to stock is heard. In fact, there are only certain food products which would be damaged more by salt, than by fresh water, and probably any stock would bring as much at auction whether it had been soaked with salt.or fresh water. In ‘eed, many underwriters who are of a more advanced school—men who read and think—say that the advantage of an inexhaustible w’ater supply would far outweigh the disadvantage of possible damage to goods. They claim that the first thing to be done is to put a tire out, and that damage to goods is only a secondary consideration.
Ten-inch pipe lines could be laid from river to river, at an expense of about ninety cents per running foot, with hdrants at proper intetvals—especially throughout the compact business portion of the dry goods district—so that much more powerful streams of water could be thrown than by the engines, and the engines themselves could be dispensed w ith on occasions like the great blizzard of March, 1886.when it would have been impossible to get tire engines through the streets, or in emergencies like that of the great Boston fire of 1872, when an epizootic disease among the horses made it impossible to get the engines to the scene of the conflagration. The city already has the fireboats, with their powerful machinery, and needs only the pipes to make them thorougnly effective at long distances from the shore line. It is not Chiet Bonner’s fault that this system has not been introduced in New York: he has always favored it, and he has besides to back him the fact that such pipes, discharging salt water, can also be used for flushing sewers and sprinkling streets, as has been done for so many years in England.
On their recent visit to Boston, Mass., President Sheffield, Chief Bonner, and Engineer Crowell were taken in hand by Fire Commissioner Russell, and every portion of the work was explained to them in detail. Th* work of laying the pipes is now finished from the junction of Atlantic avenue and Congress street, through the latter thoroughfare to Post Office square, through Exchange place «nd Central street to the Custom House; the work still unfinished being the connection with the water front at the Congrets street end. and the continuation of the other end from the Custom House to a point between Central and Long wharves. Considerable difficulty has been experienced in laying the pipes, which are twelve inches in diameter and placed seven feet below the surface. Almost the entire length has been laid in solid masonry and the hy. drants ate placed at intervals of 300 feet, and each one has an electrical connection with the fireboats stationed at each end of the line, so that the action of the pumps can be instantly and absolutely controled from the scene of the fire. The [composite valves to be used cost five times as much as the ordinary ones—a different pattern being necessary because of the action of the salt water. The system will at all times be kept full of water, which will be supplied from a tank on the top of the Post Otfice building; but, in the event of a fire necessitating the use of hi salt water system, this fresh w’ater supply will b; immediately shut off. Should the system prove a success, provision has been made for its extension into four other districts, the leather, and boot, and shoe district, the wholesale dry goods district, the North End, and the Union Station sections of the city.
Regarding the new pipe line for carrying w’ater from the Buffalo, N. Y.. harbor for fire extinguishing purposes, Chief Commissioner Davis has the following to say:
The secret of the perfection lies not alone in the good construction, and hydrants and appliances, but is based most of all on the size of the pipe. ‘I he point in which the Buffalo pipe line suipassesthe efliency of that possessed by any other city in this country is that it is very much larger. It can put more water on any tire on Main, Washington, and Ellkott streets fiom Huron street to the docks, than halt the nre engines in the department combined. As soon as we can get the authority 10 do so, we will run another line up Pearl street as far, say, as Tupperstreet. Then we should have the business part ot the city up and down Main street covered for the present and for the city’s nearby luture growth. A branch line could be taken off the Washington stieet pipe line down Seneca stieet—say, to cover Exchange, Seneca, and Swan, or down Swan to cover South Division, Swan, and Seneca. With the business growth ot the city, east or west, the main trunk lines Irom the harbor could be increased within supporting distance of one another and the systems be connected for emergency use. But there is oi.e more step in the tire protection system that I am anxious to see established—and that is, some independent pumps that will not require the presence of the hreboat. There is noquestion of the economy of the very best hre protection possible. Fire insurance companies actually pay lor such improvements by the reduction they make in rates, and the larger line of insurance they will take. Five years ago it was practically impossible to get a fire insurance company to open a new otfice here. Dozens of the older companies had withdrawn their agencies from the city and could not be induced to reestablish. Today, even with the improvement which has come by our improved engine service, the hre comuanics are hastening to reopen their agencies, and jaies in many localities have come down to an amazing degree. With a well-developed pipe line system, supplied with independent pumps coveting ihe business portion ot this city, the insurance-paying community would be saved ihe cost ot the system in the reduction of tneir insurance rates within a iew years. The business portion ot the community could well afford to pay for the system themselves.
In the system adopted at Milwaukee, Wis., the city is provided with two tireboais and has nearly six miles of hreboat pipe line, which vary in length Irom fcoo to 3,500 feei. ‘1 hese lines are tapped at each corner as well as 111 tne middle of the block by large hydrants Chief Foley states that in a test with a 3.250-foot line, using a two and one-half inch nozzle, the jet ot solid water was 120 feet. In another test with a 2,25u-foot line, two leads of hfty feet each, three and one-half inch hose, and two-inch nozzle, solid water was thrown from both to a height of Ibo feet; after which. siame»ing both streams and using a three-inch nozzle, water in a solid stieam was thrown lgS leet. In warm weather the lines are kept lull to save in starting, but emptied in fret zing weather. Detroit, Mich., has a most extensive system, its pipes having been laid in nine streets, and varying in length trom 700 to 4,oco leet. Thejong line ot 4.000 leet has delivered trom one hydrant four one and three-quarter and one two inert tire streams. Experience has shown that the streams delivered from pipe lines ate vastly superior to those of the engine. ‘Ihe water comes with greater force, in a more solid body, and does the most effective work.
The East Jersey Water Company must pay damages not only for diverting the water in Pequannock creek which operated Bigelow’s saw mill, but also all damages accruing to its owner by reason of ?ny loss of profits caused by that diveision. The damages will be assessed from, and before May 2, 1893, when the water was sold to Newark—the Supreme court holding that the responsibility of the East Jersey Company did not cease in 1892. because the deed of conveyance given 10 the city purported to convey a quiet enjoyment of the rights purchased.
Grove City, Pa., will bond itself in $15,000 for a waterworks system.