Chief Wilmarth, of Topeka, to Have Motors
In the budget for 1913, which Chief Wilmarth has submitted to the city council of Topeka, Kan., the entrance of the motor and the exit of the horse-drawn fire apparatus is heralded. For the first time in the history of the department the report this year shows a decrease in the number of horses in the fire service. The motor apparatus tells the story. Chief Wilmarth estimates that it will take $5,000 less to run the fire department and make the required improvements next year than he figured out for this year. The budget estimate for 1913 is $72,687.45. The fire marshal’s estimate for 1912 was $77,061.27. The city commissioners reduced the 1912 estimate to $72,000. The slicing process has not been applied to the estimate for 1913. Chief Wilmarth asks for only one piece of motor apparatus in this year’s budget. This a motor tractor, hook and ladder, for station No. 3. Alarms from all parts of the city surrounding the center sections bring out No. 3 companies and the chief deems it necessary to have motor power in that district. In nearly every ease a long hard uphill pull drains the strength and sped of the horses. In the preliminary paragraphs of the budget Chief Wilmarth predicts: “The auto fire apparatus has come to stay. It is better in general efficiency, it develops greater speed, fires are reached quicker and there is economy in maintenance.” The fire marshal states that no more horse drawn fire wagons will he purchased for the Topeka department. All new purchases will include the motors. The equipment summarized: Six fire stations, fifty-four full paid employes, five night watch boys, twenty-five horses, thirteen horse fire apparatus, one motor combination chemical hose, one chief’s motor, one telegraph line wagon, one chiefs buggy reserve. Chief Wilmarth reviews this year his recommendations for the station in North Topeka. He would have an aerial truck, a steam fire engine and an addition to the building.
San Francisco firemen, as municipal employes, claim that under the provisions of the city’s charter they can be employed for only eight hours daily. To grant an eight-hour day would mean the employment of nearly 1,400 additional men. Under the present system 700 work on a wholeday shift; under an eight-hour shift 2,100 would be required.