FIRE PROTECTION AT LYNN, MASS.
Chief Charles H. Downing has been for fourteen years at the head of the fire department of Lynn, Mass., and well deserves the confidence his fellow citizens repose in him as the safeguarder of their lives and property. Lynn is a city of considerable importance, with a population verging closely on 69,000 and a fire limit extending over eleven square miles. Its commercial buildings are of brick, many of them nine stories high, and within the fire limits are many handsome and richly furnished residences, chiefly constructed of wood. For the protection of the city there is installed the following apparatus: Steam fire engines, seven; chemical engines, four; trucks, fully equipped, three; aerial truck; two-horse hose wagons, seven; combination wagon; two-horse hose reels, four; two-horse fuel wagons, eight; chief’s buggies, two; supply wagon; hose, 21,650 feet two and one-half-inch cotton, rubber-lined, and 4,600 rubber for chemical engines. There are fifty horses in service. The Gamewell fire alarm system is installed, with storage battery and 115 boxes, of which three were added during the past year. The alarm by its prompt action has been of great assistance. It has registered correctly every box pulled, and has thus enabled the department to arrive at the scene of the fire without delay, thereby saving loss of time. The personnel of the force consists of 169 officers and men, of whom sixty-six are full paid, the remainder being part paid. The water supply is ample, and the 782 hydrants are kept in constant working order at a slight expense. They are all looked after by one man, who is specially detailed to that duty. The number of calls for the services of the department during 1903 was 466, with two special—making an increase of twenty-eight over those of 1902 and the greatest number in the history of the department foi any one year. Eight calls were for outside of the city. The increase of fires seems to he due to the general use—more properly, misuse—of oils in business and residences for heating, cleaning, etc., poor insulation of wires .and the accumulation of rubbish and inflammable material in basements and closets. The losses during the year were as follows: On buildings, $55,611.19, on contents, $90,459.77—total, $146,070.96, out of an aggregate value of $2,738,841.57; insurance on buildings, $731,304, on contents, $1,707,519—total, $2,438,823; insurance on buildings, $51,902.94, on contents, $81,077.60—total, $132,980.54; net loss above insurance paid, $13,090.42. To the above loss four fifes contributed $87,733.16. The city’s committee on the fire department has contracted for an extra first-size Amoskeag steamer, and will build an engine house on the corner of Franklin and Baker streets. A new boiler is needed for engine No. 3—the present boiler has been in use twenty-two years and is now worn out; one chemical engine needs new wheels; and four large hydrants should he replaced with common post hydrants, as the former is complicated, and causes delay in getting to work. Only two steamers can work at them, the same as at the post hydrants.