According to the annual report of Charles D. Grim, chief engineer of the fire department and superintendent of the Gamewell fire alarm system of Allentown, Pa., while the number of fires has been greater than in any previous year in its history, the actual fire loss has been much less than in some former years—less than ten per cent of the insurance. The total value of property involved was $353,600—on buildings, $115,900; contents, $237,700; total insurance, $236,056—on buildings,$92,291; contents, $143.765; total loss thereon, $19.670.15 —on buildings, $9,113.58, contents. $10,556.57. The total number of alarms was forty—box, thirty-one, telephone, three still alarms, six; fires in brick buildings, twenty; in frame buildings, fifteen; fires confined to place of origin,thirty-five; confined to floor on which they originated, thirty-two. Part of the apparatus was sent out of the city to two different fires at Rittersville. The force of the department consists of seventeen paid officers and men,with the chief and three assistant engineers.and 584 volunteers—total, 601; the apparatus, of one second-class Amoskeag engine ,two second-class, and one thirdclass Silsby engine, five one-horse hose carriages, one twohorse hose wagon in reserve, one second-class Hayes truck, one double sixty-gallon tank, Holloway chemical engine, one chief engineer’s buggy, 6,650 feet of good cotton hose, 1,600 fair, and 150, poor—total, 7,150 feet. There are 234 fire hydrants, many of them of the latest improved patterns, two reservoirs, and two standpipes. In the city there are 7.172 buildings, of which 5,357 are brick, and 1,821 frame. Fire patrol duty was done by request by members of the different companies at several places of amusement during the year. The fire alarm system has worked satisfactorily during the past year,and the credit for same is in alaige measure due to Tillerman P. J. Beisel, of the Rescue, who personally directed all the work. During the year a Gamewell four-circuit repeater and switchboard were added and two miles of line rebuilt; also new rack for battery cells. The battery was moved from Good Will’s building to the third floor of the Rescue and a fourcircuit repeater added in August, 1897. It was again moved from the Rescue to two rooms suitably adapted for the same in the new Central fire and police station in February, 1897. The system now consists of thirty-two street boxes, three bell strikers, seven engine house comp, indicators and gongs, one gong water works,three small gongs private,one gong chief engineer, 22 miles of wire, 132 cells of battery, one four-circuit repeater, one four-circuit switch-board. Chief Grim recommends the changing of the gravity, to storage battery, which would save about $250 a year in maintenance. He likewise recommends the purchase of a chemical engine or combination wagon to be placed in the northern or western portion of the city; the reorganization of the badge and fire police departments and equipping the Hibernian company with a combination wagon, hose and chemical, also the purchase of 1,500 feet of new hose. He adds, that, as the pumping capacity of the department has remained the same during the past fifteen years, although the city has grown to almost double its size since, he would also recommend the purchase of a new steam fire engine to be placed with the Liberty company, and that the old engine of that company be held in reserve. Of the personnel of the department he says that the men during the past year did their work very efficiently, good order and harmony having prevailed everywhere.

The unusually large number of alarms were all promptly responded to, and the men without exception worked hard and fai hfully in the lines of their respective duties.

In his annual message Mayor Lewis indorses Chief Grim’s recommendation for the addition of another chemical engine. Spe.king of the fire department, he says that it has

reached a condition of great efficiency, and to-day, as a volunteer department, stands second to none in the State. The loss by fire during the past year has been very small, for which we owe our thanks to the continued v:gilance and efficiency of the members of our several fire companies. The chief, Charles D. Grim and his able assistants are also entitled to the thanks of the citizens for the prompt and able manner in which they have performed the hazardous duties of their posifions.

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