FIGHTING UNDER-DOCK FIRES FROM DECK OF A FIRE BOAT
Newly Invented Device Consists of Self-Propelled Copper Tank, Floating on Wafer, Guided by Lines from Fire Boat and Throwing a Spray Upward on Fire
THE fighting of fires under docks and wharfs has long been a problem of first magnitude to Fire Departments which guard waterfronts. Ivar Offerdahl, one of the engineers of the fire boat “Alki,” of the Seattle, Wash., Fire Department, has provided a solution to the difficulty. It consists of a copper tank which floats upon the water. Underneath the tank is a movable jet, which furnishes the motive power and maneuverability of the device, after fire hose has been attached to it. This jet is on a swivel and is guided by two lines. The device can then be made to go in any direction the operator desires. Another jet leads upward through the top of the tank and this is used to spray the underside of the burning dock.
Fighting Under-Dock Fires Dangerous Task
Heretofore it has been necessary to fight under-dock fires from skiffs or “pup-boats.” Dragging hose from the fire boat in a skiff is a Herculean, as well as very dangerous task.
Recently one of the concrete wharves, on wooden piling, fell into the water at Providence, R. I., as the result of an under-dock fire that burned for five days—resisting all attempts of the firemen to extinguish it with their ordinary equipment.
“One, or more of my apparatus would have put out that fire,” declares Engineer Offerdahl.
Just Launch Tank
All that is necessary is to launch the copper tank, detail a man to guide it, turn on the pressure and away it goes. It is small enough to go under any dock and by “sawing” on the lines it can be made to rock—thus spraying a large area.
In a recent demonstration the little apparatus hauled more than 200 feet of hose through the water with ease. Chief Claude W. Corning, of the Seattle Fire Department, was enthusiastic about it and plans to put two on each fircboat H. H. Botten, Assistant Manager of the Was Washington Surveying and Rating Bureau; T. P. Evans, Chief Engineer, and P. J. Braun, Public Fire Protection Engineer, of the same organization, also praised the under-dock fire-fighting device.
Several Years Perfecting Invention
Engineer Offerdahl has been several years perfecting his invention. He says that Capt. Carl A. Anderson, skipper of the “Alki” and M. W. Patten, the other Engineer, deserve equal credit with him for the creation of the new apparatus.