Council Bluffs’ Fire Department
The Nonpareil, of Council Bluffs, Ia., recently said of the fire department of that city: “It has been said that the fire department of any city is the best in the world when a resident of the town is talking to a stranger, but the poorest when the same man is talking to his next-door neighbor. But Council Bluffs must be the exception to the rule as far as the last half of the axiom is concerned. Even the street-corner knockers have nothing but good to say of the department and the efficiency of the organization proven in years past seems to be the only reason for the immunity from attack. The organized paid fire department celebrated the thirtieth anniversary of its formation the first of this year. Organized in 1883 with 16 members selected from three volunteer companies, the department has steadily grown until now there are 25 members. It started with three stations and two have been added during the third of a century. All of the old stations have either been remodeled or the old buildings replaced by new and larger structures so that, while the fire department is not so much larger than it was 30 years ago, it is much more efficient. New and up-to-date equipment, including one of the best combination chemical and hose automobiles in this section of the country, has aided in the establishment of a record for the department during the year that has been rarely touched. The fire losses in the city during the past 12 months total less than $50,000 and one of the largest items in this list, the old Julge Aylesworth place, was outside of the water limits. The losses were practically all covered by insurance. Early this spring examiners for the National Board of Underwriters were in the city investigating the conditions and it was their opinion that the Council Bluffs fire protection system was one of the best in the country for cities of its size. The department real estate is valued at $00,000 and the apparatus and equipment is worth $39,000. During the past year the equipment has been materially improved by the purchase of the new auto truck at a cost of $5,000 and 2,000 feet of new hose. The cost of maintaining the department, including the salaries for the men, feed for the horses, fuel and repairs, amounted to $27,000 during the past year. This is about oneseventh of one per cent, of the valuation of taxable properties protected by the department. Incidentally the Council Bluffs fire department produced the fastest fire team in the world, Lou and Herb. They equaled the world’s record at Perry this year and have won in nearly every tournament in which they have participated. It is believed that they are the greatest fire team in active service to-day.