Fire Department Chiefs on Overhead Electric Wire

Fire Department Chiefs on Overhead Electric Wire

An interesting contribution to the discussion of the overhead wire question was furnished by a pamphlet published in Baltimore and reprinted in FIRE AND WATER of February 28, 1891. Mayor Davidson, of that city, sent to the chiefs of a number of cities in the United States copies of the following inquiry: Mayor’s Office, Baltimore. Will you do this office the favor to say whether in your judgment the overhead electric wires, whether for lighting or for electric railways, are a serious interference with the operations of your department? Robert C. Davidson, mayor. Some extracts from the answers received are as follows: Chief Lindsay, of the St. Louis Fire Department, wrote: “In my judgment the time has come when all electric wires should be placed underground. We have in this city both the overhead electric light and electric railways, and innumerable telephone and telegraph wires, all of which are a serious detriment to the workings of the fire department, and particularly the electric light and railway wires, which require a very powerful current dangerous at all times to life.” Fire Marshal Walden, of the Wichita (Kan.) department, replied: “I know from experience that electric light wires are a hindrance and of great inconvenience and detriment to the fire department, as well as dangerous to both life and property. I advocate the prevention of such wires, and trust that ere long all cities will be free from them.” Chief Hale, of Kansas City, said: “My experience in fighting fires in this city for the past nineteen years has taught me to believe that all overhead wires which now create such a great nuisance in our city are forming one of the worst barriers against entering burning buildings that the fire department can possibly contend with.”

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