BOSTON AND ITS AUXILIARY PIPE SYSTEM.
The new auxiliary pipe system has just been successfully tested at Boston, where for the better protection of the “conflagration district” a system of salt water mains and a series of hydrants 300 feet apart has been placed in Congress and Central streets and Central wharf, where, at the water front, connection is made with the fireboat which furnishes the power. The final test was made in presence of F’re Commissioner Russell, Superintendent of Streets Wells, Capt. Brophy.of the electric bureau, Acting, City Engineer Cheney, former Capt. Delano, of the Charlestown fire department, and others. Chief Webber, with Assistant Chiefs Cheswell and Griffin, Supt. Hawkins,and Assistant Byington of the fire department repair shop, had charge of the firemen. Assistant City Engineer Mclnnes was in charge of the technical test. The hydrant in the square is a six-inch post draught,with three plugs for three and one-half-inch hose. At the top is an arrangement for telegraphic and telephonic communication with the fireboat, and also with the Bristol street fire headquarters. Supt. Flanders and assistants looked after this part of the test. This consisted of playing through three three-inch lines, each 150 leet long, with three one and three quarter-inch nozzles, six lines, with six one and onequarter-inch nozzles, six lines siamesed into two Eastman sets, with two nozzles, each two-inch, two and one-quarter, and two and one-half inches. Three thousand five hundred gallons a minute were pumped, and though the wind blew directly towards the streams,yet solid water was thrown 115 feet—thirty feet above the tenstory building at the corner of Pearl street—curtaining the side, as the water poured off the coping. The streets were deluged, and, after the mains had become thoroughly washed out, the water was as clear as crystal. Some of the nozzles were strapped to a stout frame set at an angle of forty-five degrees. This was not necessary, however, as the hosemen held those that were free with as much ease as,and with greater force than if played through by a steamer.
The many experts present were thoroughly satisfied with the test. Chief Webber said it was the best fire-quencher that he ever saw. and he was satisfied with the tests. Capt. Brophy considered it a
perfect success. It is practically the same (he said) as if the fireboat were in the centre of the square. It makes the boat fully 100 per cent, more available for effective work. It is now possible to reach even Houghton & Dutton’s building with such a torient of water that the premises would be flooded from the top down. This system is equal to at least thirtysix hydrants under the fire-steamer system, and a much greater amount of water can be thrown than by the fresh water method.
Engineer Mclnnes, who was well pleased with the results, stated that the tests were for the purpose of ascertaining the loss of head in the connection between the boat and the pipe, which was found to be practically nothing; the loss of head in the twelve-inch main; and the loss of head in the hydrant. These, Mr. Mclnnes said, would have to be figured out before an official report could be made. The discharge of water was estimated at 1,500 gallons each minute for each nozzle. The pressure at the boat was 200 pounds to the square inch, and 195 pounds at the main, where it connects with the hydrant. This was considered an exceptionally good showing, as the distance between them was nearly 2,000 feet.
The appropriation for the salt water system recommended in 1894 was $50,000, and at the time Commissioner Fitch claimed that,
in case of a large fire at almost any point along the lines suggested, the fire supply would be equivalent to an addition of from six to ten land engines, and in maintaining and utilizing it the cost of men, horses, fuel, apparatus, and miscellaneous equipment could be largely dispensed with In addition, a line running through Congress street, South Boston, to protect the large interests located there on the Boston wharf property, would be a great benefit, especially as that is one of the few places in the city where it has been found unusually difficult to furnish an adequate water supply.
The plan submitted by City Engineer Jackson at that time, on which the $50,000 was appropriated, provided for four stations on the water front, at which fireboats may make connections, and pipes from the several stations so connected that a fireboat could give a supply from cither of the stations to any hydrant on the line of pipes. The system thus far developed comprises twelve hydrants, divided between Congress and Central wharf, and Custom House square, with the hydrant in Post office square at t e apex. A radius of 800 feet from these hydrants will supply salt water from the fireboats to the markets on the north, and to the junction of Broad street with Atlantic avenue. The circle, described from the other hydrants, will include the Ames building, the Herald building, Summer street, and Arch street, touches Essex street, and takes in Wlnthrop square and Federal street. The future extension of this system, it is stated, will, in all probability, call for stationary pumping stations, instead of additional lirebOats, the latter being left free to attend to fires along the water front not covered by the salt water service.