DESTRUCTIVE FIRE AT ONEIDA
Specially written for FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING.
Oneida, N. Y., is not a large city; its population is about 8,000 and its fire-area about 3,000 acres. Its mercantile buildings for the most part are built of brick and vary in height from two to five stories. A large number of its private residences, however, are of wood; but there is a restriction as to wooden roofs. Its fire-rating from the underwriters is first-class, and though the department lacks an aerial truck—certainly an essential where there are so fnany buildings of five stories in height, yet the excellence of its personnel and the up-todate methods of Chief Frank H. Ernenwein serve in a certain degree to offset that d ficiency. The chief himself is a fireman of some fifteen-years’ standing, and is thoroughly well up in the science of firefighting. This was shown on the occasion of the recent fire in a machine shop and laundry in this city which was confined to the place of origin, as was fortunate, since, if the work of the firemen had not been so good, and the flames had snread to a considerably higher building adjoining, the department would have been in a bad way for want of a 65-ft. aerial truck, as the present truck is not by any means up-to-date. The danger that threatened on that occasion was averted, not by the adequateness of the eqttinment, but by the operations of the firemen. If, however, the blaze had become a conflagration, as was quite on the card, then the scarcity of hose and the lack of more firemen would have been severely felt, and the destruction of p-n” erty much greater. To guard against any such disaster, in addition to the aerial truck, 2,000 ft. more of hose should be purchased and two more permanent men enrolled on the force, The burned buildings, under whose roof were a machine shop and a laundry, with boilers, engines and tools for the former and utensils, etc. for the latter, was situated in about the centre of the city, it was a 4-story structure, built of brick, with a 40-ft. front, 120 ft. wide in the rear and 200 ft. deep. It had no internal (ire-protective apparatus, such as sprinklers, standpipes, hose or extinguishers, but depended altogether upon the city’s department, in case of emergency. It was an oldfashioned building that had been doing duty for at least twenty years, and was by no means (Ire-resistant, as was shown by the rapidity with which it burned. The blaze, which probably originated in the centre of the building, from what cause is not known, but most likely from fire under the boilers, broke out at about 5:30 a. m., and, when the department arrived, the building was all afire, and the flames were coming out of the first and second floor windows, showing that they had made great headway before they were discovered. The one steam lire engine that the city possesses was undergoing repairs at the time (some new valves were being put in), and could not be brought into service—an unavoidable condition which, of course, crippled the firemen to a very large extent; but there came on the scene a combination hose and chemical wagon, the one oldfashioned truck and a hose wagon. Five 6-in. double hydrants, set at a distance of 300-,ft. from each other, the pressure being 79 lb. and the street being 30 ft. wide, supplied water from a 6-in. main in front and a 12-in. main—the largest available —from which five streams were thrown, three more from the 6-in. through 2,000 ft. of cotton, rubber-lined Eureka and Fabric hose (not a length of which burst). The nozzles employed on the hose were 7-8-in. and lJ4->n. Callahan and Ball nozzles were used, and eight streams were thrown at once, all of which were good, except that from the Ball nozzle, whose destiny is the scrap-heap. The waterworks system is gravity. The loss on the building was heavy, and there was no insurance; on the contents, there was an insurance of $2,000 only.
It will thus be seen that, in spite of the engine being out of commission, the fire department was able to cope successfully with a formidable fire and to restrict it to the place of origin. The equipment of the department, whose personnel consists of Chief Kmenwein, att assist-
hose wagon. There are some to$ hydrants set, with a fire-pressure of 80 lb. The headquarters building has been remodeled and is in every way up-to-date. Chief Ernenwein joined the department as a volunteer fifteen years ago, being then nearly twelve months short of attaining his majority. In 1900 he was made assistant chief and in August, 1904, became chief. A fire-escape invented by Gustave Wikandcr, of 236 Virginia avenue, Jersey City, N. J., possesses some merit, which ought to command the attention of those interested in fire protection. It is for attaching to outside walls, and, as it is only 3-in. wide when closed, no obstruction or unsightly effect is produced. It is closed with a spring and is easily opened to form a regular ladder T4-in. wide, with a small rung %-in. by i-in. wide, made of iron.
ant chief and two drivers (all full paid), twentyfour call men paid for time spent at fires and twenty-eight volunteers (the German hose company), is as follows: Steamer; standard hose wagon; hook and ladder truck; hose reels, two; supply wagon; hose sleigh; chief’s wagon; chemical extinguishers, 4; some 5,000 ft. of good hose; horses, 4; Gamew’ell fire-alarm telegraph system, with over a dozen boxes. The German hose company, also, has a modern