Deficiencies at Richmond
GENERAL NEWS ARTICLE
According to the report of an expert fire protection engineer, on Richmond, Va., 82 acres in the congested district of the city is inadequately protected against conflagration because of the absence of an efficient water distribution system. The engineer says that very little has been accomplished along the lines recommended in the National Board of Fire Underwriters’ report of 1906, except the increasing of the pumping capacity in connection with the high service supply, the laving of a duplicate force main, and a small portion of the necessary reinforcement of the distribution system. He says the pressures are low and fire protection distribution inadequate. The fire department, however, has been improved, and placed more nearly upon a full paid basis. The engineer says it is well organized, efficient, fairly strong, anil in charge of experienced officers. As regards the fire alarm system of Richmond, it is fairly well maintained, but of unsuitable type. The headquarters equipment is mostly obsolete and unreliable and telephones are largely used for alarms. The building code enacted in July, 1908, prescribed the fire limits, which were extended in December, 1911. The laws, however, are considered deficient in many important points, although their enforcement is good. Structural conditions in the congested district are weak, particularly in the older buildings. With regard to the conflagration hazard the report says in part:
“In the congested value district, which has an area of 82.3 acres, or about .13 of a square mile, construction is mainly weak, much of the district is congested, some of the blocks are large, most of the streets are narrow, high winds are frequent, sprinkler equipments are comparatively few, there are many conflagration breeders, the water supply is inadequate, and, although the fire department is efficient and fairly strong, fires beyond its control are probable, and such fires could easily involve considerable portion of the district. The Broad street mercantile district is of similar construction and likewise subject to bad fires, but Broad street is wide (118 feet), blocks are small, the district is narrow, and fires should be local. The residential sections are largely brick or detached frame dwellings, with incombustible roofs, and are in little danger of spreading fires.
The estimated cost of water works improvements, etc., of Superintendent Eugene E. Davis, of the city water works of Richmond, Va., has been referred to the Board of Fire Commissioners and the city administrative board. It provides installing a double unit or two centrifugal pumps, motor-driven power, including buildings and connections, $48,500; a 1,800-foot main in 12th street, also a pumping station at the foot of the street, $7,020; a 6,400-foot main on Cary street, from 6th to 25th streets, $19,200; also on Main street, from 7th to 22d street, 5.200 feet long, $15,600; also other mains on other streets, making a total of 75 high-pressure hydrants and connections, at a total cost of $134,422.50. The cost of maintenance, if power is purchased from the Virginia Railway and Power C ompany, is placed at $1,500 yearly. The matter has been placed in the hands of a sub-committee. It is reasonably certain that this system of high-pressure hydrants will be perfected at an early date.
For the consideration of $1, Mrs. Sara W. Kulp recently presented the handsome fire station at Kulpmont, Pa., and the lot upon which it is erected to the Kulpmont fire company. The building was erected some years ago by the late Monroe H. Kulp and rental or lease had never been exacted of the company.