COMPLETE MOTORIZATION OF THE NEW YORK FIRE DEPARTMENT ASKED
The last fire horse in the New York City Fire Department will disappear and the 304 fire companies will be completely motorized before the end of the coming year if the request which Fire Commissioner Robert Adamson has made to the Board of Estimate and Apportionment is granted. He has asked for $1,066,112.75 for motor equipment to replace the remaining horses in the department. He strongly urges that the motorization be completed by a single appropriation rather than in installments, and he based his plea on the ground that in any event complete motorization cannot be delayed more than a year or so, because the 720 horses left in the department have reached an average age of a little over thirteen years. Besides, the Commissioner states, his plan would replace old and obsolete apparatus with the new up-to-date type of apparatus, would enormously increase the efficiency of the department, render unnecessary the establishment of new companies, and in addition, to all this, result in a saving of at least $150,000 a year in reduced cost of operation of motor companies “As a business proposition,” said Fire Commissioner Adamson, “it is a splendid thing for the city. It costs five times as much to operate an oldfashioned engine company, with the old type coal burning engine, and its separate hose wagon, both drawn by horses, as it costs to operate the new type single unit gasoline pumping engine, which docs the work of the old pieces of apparatus, and does it better. The city must do one of two things, and do it right away. It must either buy horses to replace our old horses or give us motor equipment. I am sure the city docs not want to abandon the policy of motorization and continue the antiquated and extravagant policy of using horses for fire apparatus. We have not bought a horse for fire service since 1912. Consequently our horses are getting old. We have left in the department only 720 horses and these should all be retired next year. So far our motorization has consisted principally in adapting motor tractors to existing horsedrawn fire apparatus. Very little now ap paratus has been bought to replace the old. Tractor section of horsedrawn apparatus has gone about as far as it can go. We have only fifty pieces of apparatus left fit to be tractored. We have fifty-five obsolete fire engines which it would not only be a waste of money to tractor, but which shou’d be tetired from use altogether. In the request which I have made I have asked for fifty tractors, costing $162,392, and for fifty-six new type combination gasoline pumping engines at a cost of $444,920, to replace fifty-six old engines and fifty-six old hose wagons. These fifty-six combination engines would replace 112 pieces of apparatus, furnish far better service and result in a very great saving. Those fifty-six engines would be of the new type single unit engines, of which we now have seven in the department. They are wonderfully economical in operation as compared with the old coal-burning fire engines. It costs $719.64 per year for forage atone for these old horsedrawn fire engine companies. It costs only $30.65 per year for gasoline to drive the single unit engines to fires. Steam must be kept up every hour, night and day, in the coal-burning engines, and coal for this purpose costs $163.50 per year for each engine. The new type engines is ready to go to pumping as soon as the motor is started, and this item of cost is entirely eliminated. The sum of $363.75 per year for hostlers, stablemen, horseshoeing and veterinary attention for such company, is also eliminated. It costs the city $1,658.12 per year to operate these old-fashioned horsedrawn, two-piece, coal-burtling engine companies, while it costs only $83.36 each to operate the new combination gasoline engines. This is a saving of $1,284.75 a year for each company. Besides an engineer at $1,700 a year would be required for these new type engines only in the busiest companies, and we would be able to make a saving in that respect. I am not asking that all horsedrawn fire engines be replaced with these new type fire engines. I called a conference of all our chiefs and they were unanimous that one out of each three of our fire engines should be of the sing’e unit gasoline type. They do not believe the proportion should be greater at this time. The total annual saving in the operation of the new apparatus I have asked for as compared with the cost of operating existing apparatus is $135,000 per year, as shown by actual cost data taken from our records. I believe this saving can easily be increased to $150,000 by a reduction in the number of fuel companies and engineers that will be necessary. The interest on the bonds necessary to provide the new apparatus is only about $45,000 a year, and the saving will be about $130,000 a year. And we will have new, up-to-date equipment to take the place of obsolete apparatus, some of which is 25 or 30 years old. Another thing, the motorization of existing companies and the consequent increases in their radius of operation, will make unnecessary the estab’ishment of a number of new companies which otherwise will have to be organized. Each new fire company costs the city $25,000 a year. It must be borne in mind that this replacement of horses and old apparatus cannot be deferred longer than a year at most. Replacement of many of the horses must be provided for at once. I believe the whole thing should be done at once because of the great economy and increased efficiency that would result. I hope to be able to complete theh entire job before the end of next year. The new apparatus asked for are: 45 tractors for steamers; 4 tractors for hook and ladder trucks; 1 tractor for water tower: 56 new type combination engines and hose wagons; 28 aerial trucks; 45 tenders, regulation; 7 city service trucks.