FIRE PROTECTION AT HARRISBURG
The Capital City of Pennsylvania Well Guarded.
The capital city of Pennsylvania covers an area of four miles and a quarter, and contains a normal population of 52,000, who occupy 14,924 buildings, of which 7,924 are wooden. Of the 126 alarms to which the department responded in 1902, sixty-five were in wooden buildings; forty-four in brick or stone structures; and seventeen were other than building fires. Of these alarms three were test; three were out of the city; two were false; one was a general alarm. Of the actual fires only three spread beyond adjoining buildings, and beyond: 117 were confined to the floor of origin; nine, to the building. The total value of property involved in the fires on which claim for loss was made was as follows; Buildings, $114,400.25: contents, $107—total, $221,842.83; total claims on insured property; buildings, $91,525; contents, $85.950—total. $177,475; total insurance loss, buildings, $34,830.53; contents, $62197 21—total, $97,027,74; total loss (insured and uninsured), buildings, $36,373.53 $60,480,21—total.$98,853 74, of which $98,210 37 was on buildings, and contents in which the lire orig inated. The department consists of &even companies of volunteers fully manned; St is under the command of Chief G. W. Lutz, and, as will be seen from the above figures, is able to do thoroughl’. efficient work. The people of Harrisburg are called upon to purchase a supply wagon, a horse and wagon for the assistant chief, who is subject to calls at all hours, night and day, and is at present handicapped when lie wishes to reach a fire without delay. A fortyfive-foot hook and ladder truck is also needed for uptown service; combination hose wagons are called on. and for the business sections of the city a straight chemical engine, with double sixty-gallon tanks. A third-class steamer should also be bought at once. The better to guard against fires flues should he properly constructed and chimneys kept thoroughly cleaned. If this were done, and the storage of benzine, gasolene, etc., governed by ordinance, many alarms of fire would he avoided, and the trouble and expense of calling out the department would be greatly lessened. As it is. the quickness with which the men and apparatus could be brought to the scene of fires on the outskirts of the city would be greatly increased by the construction of a platform truck, on which the apparatus could he placed and operated on the lines of the Harrisburg Fraction company. As to a paid department: The council has not come to any decison on the subject, although the feeling is that Harrisburg has outgrown a volunteer hre department. Meanwhile, as a greater aid towards the greatest amount of fire protection, the water supply should be increased. It is realised that the existing department can cope with any ordinary fire, even in the business centre and some of the lower portions of the city If, however, a serious fire should break out in these quarters, and gain great headway before the department is notified, which could easily occur, the department would be inadequate to give the proper service. What is imperatively needed is a high-pressure main laid direct from the pumping station to the business centre of the city—the supply to be taken direct from the river by the present pumps installed lately in the water station at North and Front streets, if practicable; if not, pumps must be purchased for that purpose. A belt of high-pressure mains constructed from that station would practically surround the business portion of Harrisburg. A main of this nature would be capable of supplying all water pressure demands along the belt. and. furthermore, would give ten to twelve powerful streams of water, which is more than the department can furnish by its present force of steamers at the points previously referred to. This would practically double the capacity of the department, and would be of immense value, since it would enable the department, if at any time it should be called to the outlying districts, to protect the large factories. The system would afford ample protection, as it would only be necessary to get a supply of hose to a fire. Then, again, during the winter months the department has often been retarded by the streets being blocked with snow to such an extent that it is almost impossible to haul a steamer to a fire at such times. The portion of the city where there is a low water pressure is always in great danger, but, with this system, a supply of hose would alone be necessary—the high-pressure main would furnish the force. The city, although full of buildings stored with valuable property, is without a salvage corps-an organisation which is to be found in most cities of the same size and importance The city is not in a position to furnish such a valu able adjunct to its fire department; but there is every reason why private enterprise should supply it. Another precautionary measure is required which, if adopted, would save much valuable property, and that is, the walling up of elevator wells or the use of automatically closing traps, which would prevent fires from passing by way of the elevator shaft front the basement on the lower to the upper floors or even the roof of a burning building. And to this precaution should be added the strict observance of the ordinance as to keeping cellars, yards, etc., clear of rubbish and inflammable stun and of another ordinance giving the right of way to the pieces of apparatus of the fire department, when answering an alarm. The equipment of the department is as follows: Five steam fire engines, one American, two LaFrance, one Silshy and one Amoskeag; one two horse ami one four-horse hose carriage; three one horse hose wagons; two two horse combination chemical wagons; and one three horse sixty five-foot aerial hook and ladder truck, with one twohorse hose carriage held in reserve The fire stations of Harrisburg are commodious and substantial buddings and are well cared for by the city
The big repair shops and other buildings of the Pittsburg & Western railway at Allegheny. Pa., burned. The flames spread very rapidly, as nearly all the buildings were frame, The loss was $ioo,ooo,