FIRE AND WATER SERVICE AT DAVENPORT
The report of the Committee on Fire Prevention of the National Board of Fire Underwriters on the condition of the fire and water services of Davenport, la., is rather favorable in regard to both branches of the municipality. The city, which has a population of about 43,000, is situated on the Mississippi river and covers an area of 7.8 sq. miles. There are 140 miles of streets, of which 53 are improved, mostly with brick pavement. The gross fire loss for the past five years, as given in the fire department records, amounted to $734,164, varying from $31,060 in 1904 to $290,529 in 1907. The average number of fires was 167, varying from 145 in 1904 to 190 in 1907, with an average loss of $880 per fire, a high figure. The average number of fires per 1,000 population (based on an estimated average population of 40,700) was 4.1, and the average yearly loss per capita was $3.67, both high figsures. The waterworks are owned by the Davenport Water Company and are operated under a 25-year franchise. The present officers are F. H. Griggs, president; T. N. Hooper, vice-president and superintendent, and James P. Donahue, secretary and treasurer. The entire supply is taken from the Mississippi river, being passed through a sedimentation reservoir and filters. The city is supplied in two services, the low service by direct pumpage from Station No. 1, with a clear water storage reservoir on the hill as an equalizer, and the high service by direct pumpage at Station No. 2, taking suction from the clear water reservoir. Elevations in the low service range from 22 to 60; in the high service from 32 to 189. All elevations in this report are in feet above the city datum, which is 529.1 above sea level and 4.7 below low water mark of 1878.
The supply works are located in the eastern part of the city on the north bank of the Mississippi river The supply is taken through a gravity intake line, an additional emergency intake being also provided. The intake generally used consists of a 30-inch cast-iron pipe 410 feet in length, with ell on outer end turned down stream, laid in rock trench and covered; the shore end consists of a 6×7.5 ft. conduit 179 ft. in length, leading to a masonry screen chamber connected to the suction well; the suction well adjoins the pumping station, is of masonry construction with brick lining, 15 feet in diameter and 30 feet deep, elevation of top 30.5; all pump suctions are connected to this well. The emergency intake, located at edge of river, consists of one length of 24-inch pipe discharging into a small masonry well with wooden cover; 25 ft. deep, elevation at top 25; the only connection to this well is the 20-in. suction of one of the low-lift units. The sedimentation reservoir, which was built in 1901, is located adjacent to the pumping station. It is of substantial concrete construction, part in excavation, with north side acting as a retaining wall; with embankment on other three sides carried to within five feet of top of wall; capacity about 5,000,000 gallons for water depth of 12 ft.; elevation of flow line about 33. There are 12 pressure filters in use, 10 installed in 1891 and two in 1908. They are 7.5 feet in diameter and 30 feet long, arranged in a single battery and so gated that they may be cut out singly for washing or repairs; capacity about 650,000 gallons per 24 hours each: independent pump used for washing. There are two pumping stations, one for each service No. 1 was built in 1873 and enlarged at later dates. Station No. 2 was constructed in 1883 and enlarged in 1897. There are 9 pumping engines in use with an aggregate capacity of 36,000,000 gallons per day, all of which are in good condition. The principal station, or No 1. is mainly a high one-story brick structure, divided into pump, filter, boiler and coal rooms by brick walls with unprotected openings; a small portion is two stories and there is a basement under one pump room, area 17,800 sq. ft. No. 2 station was built in 1883 and enlarged in 1897. Located on the hill, about three-quarters of a mile north of the principal mercantile district, and adjacent to the clear water storage reservoir. The pumps are so located that the suction lift from the reservoir for the 5,000,000-gallon unit would be a maximum of 16 ft., and for the smaller units 7 ft. The supply for the high service is pumped at this station from the clear water reservoir, with connections provided for pumping to the low service. The clear water reservoir was constructed in 1883. It is located in the northern part of the city, adjacent to Station No 2; rectangular in plan, of substantial construction, part in excavation, with earth embankment rip-rapped on the inside. Capacity about 5,000,000 gallons for water depth of 16 ft., elevation of flow line 182. This reservoir is used for clear water storage and supply to high service pumps, also acts as equalizer to low service. The average total-daily consumption is 4,640,000 gallons, a per-capita daily consumption of 108 gallons. Of the 7,590 services in use September 1, 1909, 4,490 were metered. The metering of services is not encouraged to any extent. Water used for street sprinkling and sewer flushing is metered, owing to clause in franchise by which a limited quantity is supplied to the city free of charge for these purposes. The pressure in the principal mercantile district is 62 pounds and maximum 70. The distribution is in two services, the low service being supplied by direct pumpage, and the high service is principally for supplying the residential district at an average elevation of 120. There is a total of 73.34 miles of pipe from 4 to 20 inches diameter, 38 miles of which is 6-inch. Some gates are set excessively far apart; the average length of main which would be cut out of service in the principal mercantile district in case of a break is 633 feet, with a maximum of 1,400 feet and three lengths over 1,000 feet. In a representative residential district on the high service, the average was found to be 1,320 feet, with a maximum of 3,100 feet and 12 lengths in excess of 1,000 feet.
There were in service within the city limits on October 1, 1909, 707 hydrants. In addition to these there are 11 hydrants, set on mains in outlying districts, not ordered by the city and not in service; there are also 23 private hydrants.
All hydrants open to the right, have gate on the branch, and have 5-inch or larger branch; a few are on 4-inch mains. Hydrants recently set are of the Ludlow make, with two 2 1/2-inch outlets, 5 3/4-inch barrel, 4-inch valve and 6-inch connection to main. Hydrants in the principal mercantile district having 5 3/4-inch barrels were replaced by those having 7-inch barrels. Hydrants are generally located at street intersections, some at corners of alleys and a few intermediate in long blocks. The location of new hydrants is determined by the water committee of the council. and the installation authorized by an ordinance.
The average spacing of hydrants in the mercantile district is 315 feet and in the residential district 385 feet. About 75 hydrants distributed throughout the city are fitted with valves on one outlet for use of wagon sprinklers; in the fall these are removed and necessary repairs to the hydrants made. Contractors use hydrants upon permit from the water company; the hydrant is operated by an employe of the water company and valve placed on outlet for contractors’ use. But few cases of unauthorized use of hydrants have been found. The results of tests made showed an average of about 70 pounds to the square inch, with from two to five hydrants open at the same time.
The fire department was placed upon a full paid basis in 18_____2. It is under the control of a board of three police and fire commissioners, appointed by the mayor every two years for six year terms. Chief Stoltenberg was appointed in 1906. and he has been in service for 25 years. Tames Quinn is first assistant, and Gustav Feers is second. The chief officers are removed only for cause, and the chief makes transfers. He also inspects buildings for violation of fire ordinances, and he is an experienced and progressive head. The full number of men in the department is 45. The expenditure for apparatus and maintenance amounts to $53,000. or about $1.23 per capita. The evarge expense during the past five years was $1.16 per capita. There are 7 hose and 2 ladder companies in the service. with 4 men to each hose company and 8 members to ladder company No. 1 and 4 to ladder company No. 2. The members receive ten days’ annual vacation and one day off in eight. The equipment consists of 7 hose wagons in service and 1 in reserve: ladder trucks. 1 quick raising aerial and 1 ordinary; 2 chief’s and 2 supply wagons: 21 horses. 18,450 feet of hose. 650 feet of ladders, 13 portable extinguishers, 3 Deluge sets and 1 revolving nozzle. There are no engines in the service. The fire alarm system is the Gamewell, with 76 street boxes. The office equipment is of the Gamewell automatic type, installed in 1909. It includes an automatic, noninterfering repeater, arranged for 10 box and 2 alarm circuits, a 12-circuit slate charging board and storage batteries. There are also a portable voltmeter and Morse key. Wires are carried up from the cellar in the walls, thence under floor to the charging board, repeater and batteries, using No. 14 copper wire, with rubber and single-braided insulation. Box circuits are protected by 1/4-ampere fuses and lightning arresters on the charging board, by 1/2-ampere cartridge fuses at junction of overhead and underground work and by lightning arresters at house gongs. The charging circuit is protected by 6-ampere cartridge fuses at entrance in cellar, by 6-amnere porcelain-base, string fuses on the back of charging board, and by 10-ampere cartridge fuses on charging board; there is no switch at entrance.
The recommendations of the committee are: The installation of an 8,000,000 and 5,000,000 gallon pumping engines, the installation of meters be extended until all services are so equipped, and the setting of more hydrants to reduce the present spaces. In the fire department a chemical company is recommended with automobile apparatus, a new truck to replace No. 2. chemical tanks for 5 hose companies and turret pipes for wagons 1 and 2, a ladder pipe for the aerial truck; to each ladder truck, a modern cellar pipe, hose roller, marine torch, iife net, 2 portable extinguishers, 2 pompier ladders, life belts and lines and waterproof covers; to each hose wagon, a plaster hook, rope, Siamese and “Y” connections, door opener, modern pipe holder, hydrant hose gate, short extension ladder and 2 portable extinguishers; to the proposed chemical engine, an axe, door opener, short extension ladder, plaster hook, rope and 2 portable extinguishers.
No Tower Fire Escape in Philadelphia.
Before, the extinguishment of the Philadelphia fire, which destroyed a factory building in which several persons lost their lives, it was said that the building was perfectly equipped for saving life, as it had fire escapes on two sides and ropes or chains at all the windows. It may be true that these means of escape existed, and that if the young girls who were earning their living in the building had retained complete self-possession they would not have lost their lives. But panic is almost a certainty when a fire breaks out in a building where many persons live or work, and the required precautions take note of that fact. The coroner has dug up some useful information regarding the history of this building. The building permit set forth that the structure was to be used for light storage purposes. and needed no fire tower: “if used for any other purpose must have tower fire escape.” Very soon thereafter it was found that the building was used for other than storage purposes, and the order was issued: “Tower fire escape to be erected as agreed upon when permit was issued.” It was not erected. The order was never complied with. The natural presumption is that the owner did not wish to incur the extiense of a tower fire escape. He apparently preferred that the working people in his building should run the risk of burning to death. He was, however, willing to compromise on something cheaper. and a permit was granted for erecting outside iron fire escapes and rope and chain escapes. In the meanwhile his refusal to erect the tower fire escape was referred to the law department for prosecution. That seems to have been the end of it. A large proportion of landlords will not incur any expense for the saving of life if they can help it. That is perfectly understood, and the city officials are provided with the means of compulsion.
Pumping Engine at St. Paul For Sale.
In another place in this issue will be found an advertisement of sale of a Deane 10,000,000-gallon pumping engine and appurtenances. The engine is at present in position at the St. Paul. Minn., waterworks, and it is in good condition, having only been in use three and one-half years. This is an excellent opportunity to secure a first-class pumping engine and it will well repay those interested to write Mr. Caulfield at once. Bids for the purchase will be opened on March 7, so that early application is necessary.