FIRE PROTECTION AT THE CHARLESTON EXPOSITION.
No risks have been taken, so far as it is possible, with respect to the fire protection of the Charleston, S. C., Exposition buildings. All of these, with the exception of the art gallery, which is fireproof, are of frame, covered with staff. The electrical installations are standard and under the most rigid supervision of experts, and subject to the approval of the fire underwriters. To prevent the spread of fire, these buildings have been placed at such distances from each other as to make each a separate and distinct risk. The grounds are inclosed, and no smoking is allowed. Salt water for fire protection is pumped from the Ashby river by 2,000-gallon-a-minute pumps into pipe lines under a constant pressure of 125 pounds to the square inch. The diameter of these pipes is eight inches for all mains, reduced to six and four inches, with one and two-way hydrants and many two and one-half inch hose couplings set in the grounds, and from six to eight standpipes of the same size in all the principal buildings. The hose and nozzle attached are of the same standard as that of the city’s fire department, and on the ground are six hose aud reel carts with two steamers, two forty-gallon combination, chemical hose carts, besides chemical hand fire-extinguishers at various points in all the buildings. In addition, three 50,000-gallon tanks are kept filled with fresh water from artesian wells by means of air-compressors—the tanks themselves being connected with pipe lines entering the buildings. In case of emergency, this supply of ware can be thrown at short notice into the fire-protection lines, or at many points used independently. At all points of the buildings, are band grenades and an adequate supply of fire buckets and cocks which are filled with water. The grounds will be connected with the fire alarm system of the city, and by telephonic communications also, so that, incase of necessity, the entire fire department of the city can be made available, in the event of its services being called for. The Exposition company has organized a guard and Are department, consisting at present of seventy-five or 100 men, officered by expert firemen,who subject them to frequent fire drills. Two fire inspectors are on duty throughout the grounds and buildings at all times during the day and night, with strict orders to prevent any carelessness or accumulation of trash or inflammable material of any description, that might result in fires. They will also be required to make a daily test of all fire-extinguishing apparatus thoughout all the grounds and buildings. Theoretically this is all very good; but unless the beads of the city fire department and the Exposition committee are in perfect agreement one with the other, as apparently was not the case a very short time ago, there is sure to be trouble. And that trouble may be the parent of a serious loss of property, even of life itself. At present it does not seem quite sure which would be in authority, if a fire broke out in any one of the buildings, the chief of the fire department of Charleston or the chief of the Exposition fire guard. As the 177 acres of ground, more or less, lie within the city’s jurisdiction, it seems not only reasonable, but strictly according to law that the city’s fire chief should have the principal say in the fire-protective arrangements as well as the supreme command over the fire guards. If the underwriters are wise, they will see that such is the case.
H. A. McQuade has been elected chief of the fire department of Chattanooga, Tenn.