Fire Department Notes.
(From Our Own Correspondent.)
COLUMBUS, O.—As most of the readers of FIRE AND WATER know already, great changes have been made in the fire department of this city. Over $150,000 were recently expended for new stations and apparatus, and I can say positively that the money was well spent, as Columbus is to-day the best equipped city of its size in the West. I am indebted to Chief Heinmiller for many courtesies in the way of procuring information as to these changes, which I purpose giving in detail in a future issue. It is sufficient to state here that the arrangement of the new houses and the equipment of the department is as nearly complete as modern methods could devise. I might state that Chief Heinmiller is the tallest engineer in the fire service being six feet five inches in height. He has a good understanding of what a well-regulated fire department ought to be, and his practical ideas are carried out in all branches of his command.
AKRON, O.—There is considerable hauling to be done in this city owing to steep grades, at the top of one of which is located the central station or headquarters of the fire department. Here I found F. F. Loomis, the electrician of the department, who is a steadfast believer in FIRE AND WATER, being one of its oldest subscribers. Mr. Loomis is thoroughly posted on all matters connected with the department, as well as being the inventor of the fire alarm system in use in Akron, to which he is constantly making improvements. He claims that his box is absolutely non-interfering, as several alarms can be recorded in succession without any interference with that being recorded. The alarm is sent in by breaking a small glass opening in the door of the box and pulling a lever, which repeats the number of the box four times at the rate of three blows each second. This rate can be increased or decreased, as desired. Mr. Loomis is now engaged in perfecting a storage battery system for use in both the fire alarm and lighting stations. The fire department is controlled by a committee of the city council, with B. F. Manderbach chief engineer. It has only four stations for a population of nearly 32,000. The city is about four miles square and the stations are located in districts covering each side of this territory. Of the four steamers in service two are kept in reserve. The central station is a long building, in which are a steamer, a 65-foot hook and ladder extension truck, a 70-gallon chemical engine and the fire alarm quarters. There are 32 full paid men and 33 call men, who receive $200 per year each, and who sleep at the fire stations. The chief engineer is full paid only since the beginning of the present year. The engines are two Stlsby, one Ahrens and one Button. The four hose carriages are for two horses each, and are of the Fire Extinguisher Manufacturing Company’s make, as is also the extension ladder truck. As will be seen by the above, the equipment is not sufficient for a city of this class. More stations ought to be provided and equipped with additional apparatus, in order that this growing and prosperous place may be entitled to a first-class position so far as relates to its fire service.
CANTON, O.—It can safely be said that if the department of Canton is not the largest for a city of its size, 30,000, it is certainly good, and there are no better horses in commission in the fire service of Ohio. On Columbus Day an opportunity was offered to witness the strength and discipline of the department in the public parade, and it only confirmed my opinion as to its efficiency. More apparatus is housed in the central station than can be found in any similar sized building in the country. A steamer, extension hook and ladder truck, chemical engine and two-horse hose carriage are packed into the building so closely that there is barely room for the horses to pass between them. The fact that the station is too small for the demands made upon it is fully realized by Chief Ohliher, and it is possible some change will be made in the near future. As the location of this station is important, covering the principal business part of the city, the concentration of four important pieces of apparatus in it is wise, provided it had better accommodation for them. The department equipment is as follows : Two steamers, one hook and ladder truck five two-horse hose carriages, two hand hose carriages, 3650 feet of hose, 2150 feet of which are classed as old, thirteen horses and forty-four fire alarm boxes. There are seventeen full paid men and sixty-nine volunteers in the department, besides the chief engineer and assistant. More hose and an additional chemical engine ought to be added to the equipment, and possibly a large conflagration in one of the great manufactories of the city would convince the council committee of the importance of purchasing a first-class steamer. Chief Ohliher is a very intelligent and well-posted man, and he prides himself upon the fact that he has never used a steamer at any fire. This is, no doubt, a good point to make for the water service, but would not be of any avail in case of a big fire. Like Dayton, this city depends upon the direct pressure from plugs for fire extinguishment, which has been found effective at small fires. When some improvements, now underway, are made to two of the hose houses. Canton will have a good department with a very competent chief engineer.