Fire Department Notes.

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.

Fire Department Notes.

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Fire Department Notes.

(From Our Own Correspondent.)

DAYTON, O.—I was much surprised to see the efficient condition of the department in this city. Chief Larkin is a scientific and practical fire fighter. This fact is apparent in all branches of his service, where the highest discipline obtainable in larger city departments is reached. The only fault I am inclined to find is that too much reliance is placed upon the fire-plug work. This, however, is natural where the water pressure is always kept at an abnormal height to meet fire duty, but in a large city of nearly 70,000 inhabitants more engines ought to be brought into active service. It is unreasonable to expect that the water-works now, with a limited supply, must be prepared at all times to furnish pressure for fire duty by direct pumping. This means a great expense in fuel and unnecessary strain upon the resources of the city water-works, whereas with a reduced pressure sufficient to furnish engines from the hydrants the most serious fires could be fought to greater advantage. It strikes me that Dayton will soon come to this way of thinking. Three new hose houses are being erected and other improvements made which I shall notice at length in another issue of FIRE AND WATER.

SPRINGFIELD, O.—Chief’ Simpson of this department is a very successful and experienced engineer. He has been in constant command for twenty-five years and is fully abreast of the times in the manner and best methods of fire extinguishment. I found, like Dayton, that this city depends entirely upon plug pressure for fire service. The city, however, is compact, consequently what apparatus it possesses can be concentrated at once at all the principal business points, while two chemical engines are ready for ail calls. In the station used as headquarters there is a double-tank 100-gallon chemical made by the Fire Extinguisher Manufacturing Company. The tanks are brass, upright, and although furnished the department in 1873 it is the most effective and independent piece of apparatus in the department. It weighs 5600 pounds. The other chemical is a sixty-gallon single tank made by the same company. At No. 4 station there is a handy combination wagon, forming a chemical engine and ladder truck. Chief Simpson speaks well of it for the suburban service it is now used for, but as there are large manufactories in the immediate vicinity of the station I am of the opinion that a steamer ought to be added to the equipment. This two-horse combination truck is the only one I know of in service. It was made expressly for this city by the company referred to above.

A hitch was made by G. E. Compton, the officer in charge, and the time showed that in this respect Springfield can make as good a record as more pretentious fire organizations. The department has 7 companies and 5 stations, 20 full paid and 16 part paid men. The fire pressure is so good, 85 pounds, that steamers are seldom used, only about once in twelve -months. The two Silsby steamers are in excellent condition, as indeed is all the apparatus. There are both hose wagons and carriages in use, and the electric system is the Gamewell to which a new five-circuit repeater is to be added and the system generally overhauled. Money has been appropriated for a new engine house, but owing to some hitch in securing a suitable site the work has been delayed. There are about 6000 feet of hose in use, of the Eureka, White Anchor, Maltese Cross and Chicago brands. Some of this hose has been in service since 1885. and is still in good condition. Preston & Co., Chicago, built the double hose carriages, and the Fire Extinguisher Company the hook and ladder truck. The loss by fire in ten years was only #20,000. which is a highly credliable showing for Chief Simpson. The number of fires average about eighty-four in twelve months, a very small number for a city of 35,000 inhabitants. Some time ago #40,000 worth of lithographs were destroyed by water. They were made by a large concern in this city for the World’s Columbian Exposition. I must compliment Chief Simpson upon his record and the efficient condition of his department.

ZANESVILLE, O., with a population of 23,000, is well equipped for fire duty. Chief John Ferrel has been at the head of the department for the past year, and in that time has made many changes and improvements to perfect its efficiency. Like the other Ohio departments visited I found here very good discipline, the men being full paid and nicely uniformed. Fire plugs are used exclusively, and there are some fine two horse hose carriages in service. The fire stations arc the poorest I have yet seen, being old, uncomfortable and badly furnished, not excepting the building used as headquarters. The loss by fire is so small, and the demand made upon the department is in consequence so light, that it may not be considered necessary to improve the buildings ; but the fire committee will find it a good investment for the city to see that all the fire stations are in good condition in every respect.