FIRE PROTECTION AT BAY CITY
A First-class Fire Alarm Telegraph System.
Bay City, Mich., for a city of its size, has a very efficient fire department, of which Thomas K. Harding is the chief engineer. Its manual force is as follows: Chief engineer; assistant chief engineer; district engineers, two; captains, eight; lieutenants, seven; hosemen, laddermen, and drivers, twentythree. Its members are distributed over six hose companies, two hook and ladder companies, and one chemical engine company. The apparatus, which is housed in six stations all substantially built structures and in good repair, is as follow: Hose wagons, six; hose carriages, six; hook and ladder trucks, two; chemical engine; chief’s buggy; cutter for winter use; sleighs for use in winter, eight; hose (good cotton), 12,850 feet, with some unreliable. In reserve are two steamers, one double-tank, chemical engine, four hose carts, and one aerial truck. The total value of the real estate, apparatus, and fire alarm telegraph system is $92,860.32, of which $18,666.32 is credited to the fire alarm system. Although there were eighteen alarms more in 1902 than in 1901—190 in all, including eighteen still alarms, with four 2-8’s alarms and one 2-6’s, the loss $36,727—was $44,738 less than that of the preceding year. This was quite a feather in Chief Harding’s cap. The fire alarm telegraph system is most complete. It was installed by the Gamewell company, and during 1902 worked in a manner that was entirely satisfactory. Not a hitch occurred at any time, and every alarm was most correctly transmitted. It consists of one light-circuit switch board, complete; one four-circuit automatic repeater; one four-circuit automatic auxiliary; a storage battery of 224 cells; and an independent volt-meter for testing. Ninety fire alarm boxes are installed, including one central office transmitter, with ninety numbers. The number of miles of poles is thirty and one-fourth—divided as follows—No. 1 circuit, eight and one-half miles; No. 2 circuit, six and threefourths miles; No. 3 circuit, seven and one-fourth miles; No. 4 circuit, eight and one-fourth miles. One mile and one-cpiarter of line was rebuilt; number of poles set. eleven; number of key guards, thirty; boxes installed, three; “No trouble” calls, twenty-nine, of which six were for open circuits and twenty-three for grounds. Charles Crampton, assistant superintendent of the fire alarm telegraph system, is an intelligent, skilful, and conscientious officer, who personally sees to the work himself. The addition of key guards to boxes in dangerous localities has proved a valuable adjunct to the telegraph service, as the time saved in giving an alarm is reduced to a minimum. The department has had considerable annoyance from them being broken and operated by maliciously inclined people, and was, therefore, compelled to take several off and issue keys again to adjacent property owners. When people leave off tampering with them, they will be replaced. The board of fire commissioners at Bay City is composed of farseeing, up-to-date men, who are always anxious to carry out Chief Harding’s recommendations and to keep the department up to the top notch of efficiency. It is made up of the following gentlemen: Joseph J. Forcier; C. D. Richardson; Solomon Wilhelm; Charles Wells; and G. Henry Shearer.