FIRE AND WATER CONDITIONS AT LOS ANGELES
The fire protection committee of the National Board of Underwriters has just issued a report on the city of Los Angeles, Cal. The document is replete with facts concerning the water supply and firefighting facilities. It shows the water supply, which is derived from the Los Angeles River watershed to he delivered by gravity and pumpage from seven different locations, to storage and equalizing reservoirs, from which it is distributed in five different sources. Elevations throughout the area served by the municipal works vary from 160 to 726 feet above mean sea level. The city has acquired exclusive rights to all waters within the San Fernando valley to the southern city limits. The watershed above the mouth of the valley comprises 526 square miles. The average annual rainfall for the past twentyseven years has been 15.93 inches in the city of Los Angeles, and increases on the northern slopes of the San Fernando valley to about twenty-two inches. The average annual stream flow during the past four years has varied from 29,412,000 gallons to 35,188,000 gallons per day, and the total amount which can be derived for short periods of time from all sources of supply is 58,500,000 gallons per day Located on tbe southwest bank of tbe Los Angles River, eight miles northwest of the business district and about seven miles from the Buena Vista pumping station, is a substantial concrete intake shaft. 30 by 8 feet, extending down to solid rock; elevation of bottom of shaft, 458.69, which is 19 feet below the river bed. At a point two-thirds of a mile above tbe intake a pipe line extending about 7,800 feet to the Pirtle cut, discharges into tbe river. The upper end of the line of concrete pipe, 24 and 26 inches in diameter, with open joints, lies in the course gravel of the cut for a distance of about half a mile, thus collecting water from the adjacent hills: the remainder of the pipe is concrete and riveted steel, from 20 to 24 inches in diameter. This source is utilized only during the dry months, when 3,000,000 gallons per day is available from it A modern sluicegate is provided to shut out the stream flow if objectionably turbid, and an iron sluicegate controls the flow into tbe conduit tunnel from the intake shaft. Estimated available minimum supply from this source is 13,000,000 gallons per twenty-four hours. The report referring to the wells mentions the Pollock, Slawson, Tiqucroa. Pomeroy and Hocker wells, with a capacity of about 4,000,-000 gallons each daily.
The chief mechanical engineer has charge of the seven pumping stations, two of which deliver water into the conduit lines, the remaining five being within the distribution system.
OIL FUEL FOR BOILERS.
The proximity to the oil fields assures the fuel supply Oil is delivered to boiler furnaces by duplex oil pumps in duplicate sets at each station. Oil delivered by tank wagon except to Buena Vista station, Tbe Pomeroy and Hooker wells built in 1907 are used oulv during tbe dry summer months The wells are pumped by an air compressor of 1,500 feet capacity, tinder an air pressure of 68 pounds, to the main supply conduit against a total bead of about 50 feet. Although sweeping brush fires along the adjacent bills are probable, the station is not seriously exposed and the oil storage is in a concrete covered tank below the ground level. Lubricating oils in safety metal tanks: 50 feet of t-inch rubber hose with nozzle used for cleaning boilers.
The Pollock wells, built in 1906. are used only during periods of maximum consumption to raise water front wells to the low gravity conduit against a head of about 45 feet, which includes 20 feet suction lift. The equipment consists of a centrifugal pump, set in a concrete pit about 10 feet deep, belt connected to a three-cylinder, vertical. marine-type gas engine of 125-horsepower capacity of plant, 1,500,000 gallons per day. Engine fuel stored in tank below the ground level; kerosene lantern lighting.
Buena Vista pumping station, located in Flysian Park, on the bluff west of Los Angeles river, about two miles north of the center of the city. Built in 1883 and enlarged in 1908. Fuel, oil. delivered on siding and pumped to metal tank on hill above station, flowing to the oil pumps by gravity.
The new Garavanza pumping station was built in 1909 and takes suction tltrougdi a 14-ineh pipe
from a 20-inch main from Highland reservoir under a maximum head of 10 feet, and is operated according to rate of consumption. One pump of 2,200,000 gallons capacity is in service in the new station and two triplex power pumps, aggregate capacity 880,000 gallons, are held in reserve in the old station. At the Edendale station pumps take suction, lift about 6 feet, through a 10-inch main extending from the 36-inch Ivanhoe supply main and discharge into the Edendale Hill service distribution system against a head of about 300 feet. One pump has 1,850,000 gallons, while another with 350,000 gallons capacity is held in reserve. These arc operated by steam.
The Slawson avenue station is located five miles south of the center of the city. It was built in 1905 and is operated only at times of maximum consumption. Water is raised from the wells by one air compressor with a capacity of 2,000 feet of free air per minute at a pressure of 90 pounds and delivered to a reservoir, from which it flows under a slight head to two pumps aggregating 6,500,000 gallons capacity. These deliver directly into the distributing system against a head varying from 46 to 185 feet.
l he Figueroa station is 5 1/2 miles southwest of the center of the city. It was built in 1907 and is used to supplement the supply of the low gravity system. One pump of 4,000,000 gallons per day capacity takes suction under slight head from (he tank outside of the station and delivers directly into the low gravity service against a head varying from 50 to 200 feet. An air compressor with a capacity of 1,500 feet per minute supplies air under a pressure of 70 pounds for raising the water from the wells to the tank.
There are 10 gravity distributing reservoirs, two suction reservoirs and one steel tank with a combined storage of 943,521,000 gallons.
CONSUMPTION AND METERS.
The average daily consumption for the past five years is reported as follows; For 1905, 34,000.000 gallons, with 8,832 meters; 1906, 36,000,000 gallons, with 15,810 meters; 1907, 35,000,000 gallons, with 22,116 meters; 1908. 34,000,000 gallons, with 26.548 meters; 1909, 36.000,000 gallons, with 32,-691 meters. The maximum consumption occurs in the summer months when lawn sprinkling is going on. During the summer of 1909 the maximum daily rate reached 59,000,000 gallons. There are 69 3-inch, 76 4-inch, 41 6-inch and 2 8-inch service connections, all metered except about 60. which are confined exclusively to fire service.
Rensselaer and Crane gate valves are being installed. On January 1, 1910. there were 3,066 gate valves on the distributing system. Gates larger than 12 inches in diameter service are geared. On February 1, 1910, there were 2,651 hydrants in use, all of the post type, opening to the left. A large proportion have one 2 1/2-inch outlet with 4-inch barrel and connection. Keystone hydrants with 6-inch barrels arc now being set. Hydrants are inspected and oiled monthly by the fire department.
The lire department has been full paid for the past ten years and is controlled by a Board of Fire Commissioners, of which the mayor is an exofficio member and president. The four members are appointed by the mayor, with consent of the council, to serve two years without pay. The chief engineer is appointed by the board to serve during its pleasure. He is the executive head of the department, is ex officio tire marshal and has entire command of the force. Former Chief Walter Lips resigned March 24, 1910, and Battalion Chief Todd was made acting chief engineer for 60 days. The assistant and battalion chiefs are appointed by the board and can be removed only for cause. The membership of the fire department totals 266; fire force, 249. This does not include the volunteer companies in San Pedro, Wilmington, Gardena and Hollywood, which were recently annexed. The budget for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1910. provides $523,765 for the fire department, including appropriations of $139,000 for new fire stations, equipments and the maintenance of fire alarm system. All positions except that of chief engineer, are in the competitive class of municipal civil service. A pension fund is provided by the city in accordance with the state laws. There are only six men in the
service who are over 55 years of age, and the average age is less than 35. Members inay be retired on half pay after 20 years of service on reaching 60 years of age, and the same pension is provided for members permanently injured while in service. Provision is made for families of firemen who are killed in service, and there also is a death benefit.
FIRE DEPARTMENT EQUIPMENT.
There are in service 22 engine, 3 ladder, 1 water tower and 5 hose companies. Each engine company has a captain and a lieutenant. Ladder companies are part of the engine companies in quarters with them and no additional officers are assigned; when both officers are present, the lieutenant is in charge of the ladder truck. For 9 hours a day the strength of companies is reduced to 2 men in hose companies, 4 men in 8-man engine companies, 5 men in 9 and 10-man engine companies, 7 men at Stations 10 and 11, and 10 men at headquarters. There are 4 engine companies and an aerial ladder truck within one mile of all points in the congested value district and 8 engine and 2 ladder companies within 1 1/2 miles of its center. STEAMERS.
At present there are 22 engines in service and 5 in reserve. They are all of modern reciprocating type, equipped with automatic and hand relief and carry at least two lengths of hard suction, one 4-inch or larger and one 2 1/2 or 3-inch and reducers for connecting to either large or small hydrant outlets. The larger engines each have one length of 4-inch soft suction and in some cases a length of 2 1/2-inch. Three-horse teams are provided for the second-size and larger engines. All engines were tested and 14 of the 22 delivered 90 per cent, or more of their reasonable capacity. The poorer showing made by others was due to unskilled stoking and other remedial causes.
There are five Metropolitan engines in active use, and in the test a third-size obtained 625 gallons per minute; an extra first-size obtained 1,045 gallons; a third-size obtained 633 gallons; a fourth-size, 468 gallons”, another third-size, 536 gallons. There are four engines of the Ahrens type—namely, three third-size and one fourthsize.
The three Amcricus engines are two first-size and one third-size; two Continental steamers, both fourth size.
Four Notts, three of which are second-size and one a third-size; two American-La France engines, tests of the second-size, and three of the Amoskeag pattern, all third-size, completes the list.
There are three ladder trucks in service. One is a Seagrave, aerial type with spring balanced hoist. It carries an 85-loot aerial, a 54-foot extension and 11 other ladders. The other two trucks are of the light service type without tillers. There is also a 65-foot Gorter water tower with 2 1/2-inch hose connections, which supply both the tower nozzle and a turret deck pipe. The telescopic mast is raised and extended by water motor. The department has 27 combination hose wagons in service with two combination and two plain hose wagons in reserve. All hose is 2 1/2-inch, double jacket, cotton, rubber-lined. It was bought under a guarantee of three years’ service and 400 pounds pressure test.
The chief engineer is provided with 4-cylinder gasoline motor car and horse and buggy: each of the other chiefs has two horses and a rubbertired buggy. There are 129 horses in service and 18 in reserve. There are 17 frame fire stations and 10 brick. Records show that of the fires handled during the past three years 25 per cent, were extinguished by chemicals, 41 per cent, with other small appliances, and that streams from engines or hydrants were used on 34 per cent. An automobile combination hose wagon, two combination horse-drawn hose wagons and a service truck have been ordered, and several new fire stations are to be built. An automatic fire alarm telegraph system is in use for the more thickly built-uo districts, and a separate system of a radically different design is now being installed to cover so-called “University district.” A superintendent of fire alarm and police telegraph is in charge of the maintenance of both fire alarm and police signal systems. Two 8-circuit. Gamewell. automatic, non-interfering repeaters receive and transmit all box signals. The full capacity of the repeaters is now in use, 14 of the coils being used for box circuits and two for interconnecting.