Columbia, Mo., Instals New Fire Apparatus
Columbia, Mo., the seat of the state university and the home of two of Missouri’s largest female colleges, Stephens and Christian, is well prepared to protect the lives of the 5.000 students, entrusted to its care every year, from fire. In six months’ time the department has grown from four regular firemen and ten volunteers to seven regular men with provision for ten volunteers if they are needed. Three new pieces of apparatus have been purchased and the old truck overhauled and repainted.
The new apparatus consists of a chief’s car, a Flint Six, for Chief Thomas Walden’s use; a city service truck, and the last of this new equipment, a 750-gallon Pierce-Arrow combination metropolitan pumper. With this motor pumper and the 350-gallon Reo pumper the department is able to throw 11,000 gallons of water a minute.
When contracted for, the pump was supposed to deliver 550 gallons o-f water, but in several tests it put out 860 gallons per minute, thus giving it a 750-gallon rating. On the strength of this test a Pierce-Arrow truck of similar design was sold to Clayton, Mo., a small suburb of St. Louis.
Chief T. M. Walden, who has headed the department for eight years, deserves much credit for his work in obtaining the new fire equipment. For several years Chief Walden had been urging more equipment and more men for the department. Last year, after the Missouri Inspection Bureau had made its survey and reported Columbia poorly equipped to handle a big fire, Chief Walden redoubled his efforts toward remedying conditions. Finally after the matter had been discussed at several meetings of the city council a contract was entered into with the General Manufacturing Co. of St. Louis to supply the new equipment.
Columbia, like many other small college towns, has a peculiar problem in the way of fire protection, with a regular population of about 15,000, and a student population of 5,000. Then there are the buildings in which the university and the colleges are located. The more recent buildings are fireproof, but there are some twelve large buildings, built years ago when brick veneer was considered the best form of construction and tile or concrete stairs and hallways were not known.
The fire station is located only a few blocks from any of the college buildings, and night watchmen are employed by both the university and the colleges as well as three night policemen who are stationed in the business district.