CAMP EDWARDS ORGANIZES PROTECTION FOR RESERVATION
Most of 1,500 Camp Buildings Erected Around a Square—Camp in Midst of Large Forest Tract
RESIDENTS of Cape Cod who visioned an unprecedented fire hazard at Camp Edwards, where nearly 1,500 buildings have risen almost overnight among the scrub pines, are reassured and satisfied that if fire should come to this Massachusetts Military Reservation, the authorities are well equipped and ready to handle the emergency.
Fire Marshal, Captain Robert Edgar of the Quartermaster’s Corpsy, has as his assistant Lieutenant Sutherland. The personnel of the camp’s fire fighting forces is commanded by Chief Elmer H. James of New Bedford, Assistant Chief Clarence Gibbs of Buzzard’s Bay and Charles F. Dooling of Beverly. Working under the direction of these three chief officers are six civilian firemen, with rating equal to hosemen. They serve as instructors for the seventy-one soldiers who make up the department.
Of the camp’s buildings, 1,200 are built around a quadrangle approximately a mile square. There is a fire station at each corner, and a fifth station located in the hospital area. At present, there are nine pieces of apparatus, consisting of three 750-gallon and one 500-gallon American-LaFrance pumps, one Liberty 500-gallon pump, two General Ford Trucks of 500-gallon capacity, one 500-Mack pump and one station wagon for use of the Chief on duty. In addition to this, the army has borrowed equipment which was on the post when the government took over.
This extra apparatus consists of one Liberty tank truck of 750-gallon capacity and one 450-gallon brush breaker that formerly belonged to the Massa-chusetts Military Reservation. The last two mentioned pieces of kit are in Station 3 directly under a towering tank that holds 400,000 gallons of water.
Provision has been made for an adequate water supply for any emergency. Two tanks at the Northwest Corner hold 400,000 gallons each, and two more in the Southeastern Section area hold 400,000 and 205,000 gallons respectively, or a combined total of 1,405,000 gallons. The major pumping stations can deliver 5,000 gallons per minute from Lane gravel packed wells.
The Osmond Pond section has one electric and one diesel pump; the Northeast Well area has two electric pumps, and there are three additional pumps in the Southwest Well area. Tests have proved that all of the 1,000 gallon pumps actually deliver 1,200 gallons per minute, and the 700 gallon pumps produce 900 gpm.
All of the 150 hydrants are equipped with steamer connections and are strategically located in the camp. The fire alarm system is a complete telephone system with seventy stations. The telephone boxes are located on poles suitably marked with a red band. They are connected to a switchboard in the alarm room at headquarters. Dispatching is done entirely by telephone. An annunciator indicates the number of the box where the phone has been lifted off the hook so that, if the sender of the alarm should be too excited to give details concerning the location of the fire over the phone, the annunciator indicates the number of the box at headquarters. Civil service operators handle all calls and alarms.
Amount of Apparatus Increased
This arrangement is the existing army set-up. Until a few weeks ago, the Walsh Construction Company was responsible for fire protection. At that time, during the actual construction of camp buildings, there were but three pieces of apparatus manned by fifty-one civilian firemen under the direction of Chief Gibbs. From time to time, new apparatus was added as the Quartermaster equipment began to arrive. The two pieces that were leased by the construction company have since been returned to the owner.
It is expected that later an alarm transmitter will be installed. This will probably be manual rather than fully automatic.
Camp Edwards is situated in the midst of twenty square miles of forest land. Part of this has been burned over, particularly in the impact area of the big gun range, as protection against forest fires in the government area, and in the adjoining twelve square miles of ShawneeCrowell State Forest, where the State of Massachusetts maintains additional forest fire fighting equipment.
Assistant Chief Clarence Gibbs is a deputy forest warden in Bourne and Sandwich, and is a veteran forest fire fighter. His knowledge of the territory-surrounding the military reservation and his long experience in handling fires in the forests of Cape Cod will prove of great value to the army.
To date there have been 140 alarms in the camp, but not a single fire worth mentioning. Assistant Chief Dooling is drilling his new soldier-firemen, and great stress is being laid on fire prevention. Chief James confidently states that in spite of dry forests, he has the situation well in hand.