Distinctive Design for Fire Alarm Headquarters
Handsome Fire-Proof Brick Building Isolated in Worcester, Mass., Park—Model Bungalow Fire Station Also Just Completed
DISTINCTIVE designs for isolated fire alarm. headquarters are rare and the new house for Worcester. Mass., described in this article, should provide some excellent hints for other departments. It is notable that the new bungalow station for this same city, also described, is built from a design published in the pages of FIRE ENGINEERING:
The city of Worcester. Mass., will soon dedicate a new fire alarm headquarters that represents the most m o d e r n ideas in building construction and equipment and which is situated on Park Avenue at the foot of Newton Hill in Elm Park where it is isolated and hence absolutely free from exposure hazard. English style of , architecture has been Chief C. L. McCarthy, Worcester, Used with pleasing Mass. effect and the two and;a half story brick structure presents a neat and handsome appearance. It has been built at a cost of approximately a quarter of a million dollars. Lucius W. Briggs was the architect and Clarence T. Rocheford the builder. Work was started in the spring of 1925 and the building was finished this fall. Red brick has been used with trim of Indiana limestone. The roof is of Pyrobar slate.
Arrangement of the Two Floors
The first floor contains a garage for cars of the fire alarm division, machine shop, stock room, and a furnace in the rear basement. The garage section is cut oil from the rest of the building, the only communication being through a firedoor leading to the outside vestibule. The stock room in the rear of the first floor is separated from the garage and fire-doors of the fusible link, automatic closing type are provided. Above the garage ceiling there is reinforced concrete seven inches in thickness.
The second floor contains the operating room, batten room, motor room, dormitory, wash-room and toilet, and office of Morey F. Orrell. Superintendent of Fire Alarms, of the Worcester Eire Department. The area of the building is 76 feet by 45 feet and the operating room is 45 feet by 31 feet.
The fire alarm equipment was all furnished and installed by the Gamewell Company, of Newton Upper Falls, Mass. The work of connecting wires and the installation of the apparatus have been done under the supervision of Edward Pcnkethman, of the Gamewell force.
The Fire Alarm Equipment
The operating room is most attractive and unusually well lighted. The switchboards are of blue Vermont marble which presents a neat and handsome appearance that is remarkably effective. The concrete floor will he covered with battleship linoleum laid on felt. Illumination is provided by seven 200 Watt drop lights on separate switches.
1 he fire alarm equipment consists of the following instruments: Two Peirce transmitters, two motor getterator sets, one 4 cylinder Sturtevant gasoline engine for generator set. This engine, designed for emergency use in case of failure of the regular power suppF which is obtained from the Worcester Fleetrie Eight Company, is a Sturtevant type 4 N with 3 1/4-in. bore and 5-in. stroke and operates at 0(K) revolutions per minute. A 50 gallon gasoline tank for the engine is situated in the rear outside of the building. The engine and generator sets are in a room by themselves. The voltage i125 and amperage 44.
Photos by H. Belknap.
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Design for Fire Alarm Headquarters
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Contents of the Battery Room
In the battery room there are seven 4 shelf battery racks each 15 feet long with capacity for 3.400 cells. Other equipment includes a control panel, one 60 circuit protector board, three 10 circuit box line relay boards, five 10 circuit storage battery switchboards, one 6 circuit primary board, and one 6 circuit secondary alarm board, nine 6 circuit Nonpareil recording sets, one 50 P B X telephone desk. 10 circuit cordless magneto telephone desk, superintendent’s recording set with one circuit Nonpareil register time stamp. Nonpareil take-up self winding master clock with Western Union service controlling time stamp. All of the recording sets are mounted on art metal pedestals with blue Vermont marble tops. The switchboards are also of blue marble. At present there are 344 fire alarm boxes in service, but capacity is provided for handling 750 boxes. The equipment includes one A. D. T. recording set. a 250 line entrance cabinet, and a 100 line telephone entrance cabinet.
Cost of the Headquarters
The cost of the building without equipment was $76,000, the Gamewell contract amounted to $99,353, and the cost of laying cables was $45,000, making a total outlay of $220,353. Three 153 wire cables were laid, each cable being approximately one mile in length.
The dormitory has windows opening on the park at the rear of the building and connects with the toilets and shower baths. The fire alarm force consists of a superintendent, chief operator, six assistant operators, and five linemen. Two operators will be on duty at all times.
The superintendent’s office is located at the head of the stairway on the opposite side from the operating room and is furnished with chairs, table, and desk.
Act of Legislature Necessary for Use of Park
In order to obtain the right to build the fire alarm headquarters in its present site an act of the legislature was necessary to grant the use of park land for this purpose. The act was passed in 1914. Chief Charles L. McCarthy, the Box 4 Associates, and Mayor Michael J. O’Hara worked together to point out the urgent need for tlie new fire alarm office and finally succeeded in obtaining the necessary appropriation and getting the building started.
The old location of the tire alarm office in the central fire station at the corner of Mercantile and Foster streets in a congested district of the city was a hazardous one and several times the building was threatened with destruction. The new fire alarm headquarters assures Worcester that the nerve center of its fire department will be safe from danger even in the event of a sweeping fire.
Handsome New Bungalow Station
The new bungalow fire station, which has been pronounced a model structure in every way by all who have seen it. is located at the junction of Pleasant Street and Chesterfield Road in the Tatnuck district of the city.
This station is of strikingly beautiful architectural design and it was built from plans which were published in FIRE ENGINEERING some time ago. The building is of the popular California type with brick and stucco construction, cement base, and roof of varigated slate. Architect Hachadoor Demojian, of Worcester, developed the plans from the ideas suggested in this magazine and the building contract was awarded to Arthur N. Booth.
The bungalow is two stories high in the centre with one story wings on each side of the apparatus floor which is two feet below the side platforms. There is room enough on the main floor to accommodate an engine, hose wagon, and hook and ladder truck.
There are three windows with peaked individual roofs in front on the sec d floor which give ample light to the large recreation and smoking room. Flower boxes adorn the front of the house below the window sills.
Each side of the building duplicates the other, there being an officer’s room in front and five single rooms behind on each side, swinging doors leading from the rooms to the platform two feet above the apparatus floor. The officers’ rooms are large with three triple section windows, desk, and two closets. Each of the single rooms has two closets, mirror, basin of porcelain with hot and cold running water, and outside window. There is a special room in front equipped with gong, register, and telephone for use of the man on patrol.
Improvements in Apparatus Room
The apparatus floor is concrete and there is an electricfan and blower to carry off the exhaust gases, this arrangement being connected to the apparatus exhaust by means of a flexible pipe which slips off as the apparatus starts ahead. This equipment starts to function automatically when the alarm gong sounds. The fan and blower may also be used when the apparatus motors are run for test purposes, the exhaust fumes being thus carried outside of the building. There are two shower baths and a toilet on each side of the apparatus floor. In the rear center, back of the apparatus, space is provided for stalls for horses to use with sleighs during heavy snow (conditions in mid-winter. To the right at the rear there Is a room with racks for drying hose with steam pipes below the racks. There is also a clothes dryer with gas heater. To the left at the rear in the space corresponding to the hose room there is a kitchenette and dining room, a large gas range being provided to make preparation of meals practicable and easy. There is a small basement in the rear in which are installed the oil furnace .and hot water heater.
The front doors for the apparatus are self closing, being regulated by a device originated by the late William McClure, former superintendent of fire alarms in Worcester. Three minutes after the apparatus has left quarters the doors are closed by the clock-work device which starts by an electrical connection that is made when the doors are opened.
Attractive Recreation Room
The recreation room on the second floor is most attractive and is decorated with several rare old colored prints which were presented to the station by a friend of the department. The cost of the bungalow station was $55,000. There are two unfinished rooms leading off the recreation room and these are available for storage of old records or other purposes. The bungalow is now occupied by Engine Company No. 9 in charge of Capt. Charles Napp and Capt. William H. Kirk. The equipment consists of a 750 gallon American-LaFrance triple combination motor pumper.
With the addition of this bungalow station and the new fire alarm headquarters the Worcester fire department is now equipped for all emergencies and adequate protection is given to all sections of the city, the bungalow station being situated in a district that is building up very rapidly.
The Worcester Fire Department
The Worcester fire department, under command of Chief Charles L. McCarthy, consists of 327 officers and men and is operated on the two platoon basis. There are two deputy chiefs, four district chiefs, nine engine companies, seven truck companies, and several hose and chemical companies. The apparatus is all motorized and includes one Seagrave water tower, two 1000 gallon Ahrens-Fox motor pumping engines, one 1300 AhrensFox motor pumper, five 750 gallon American-La France motor pumpers, and one 750 gallon Maxim pumper. There are two 75 ft. American – LaF ranee tractor drawn aerial ladder trucks, one 85 ft. Seagrave aerial truck with I a France tractor, four city service ladder trucks, eleven hose wagons, and one double tank chemical wagon. There are nineteen fire stations including the large brick central station containing the department offices.