FIRP AND WATER ENGINEERING
FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING bespeaks for its readers many happy and prosperous new years.
Mayor-Elect McClellan has nominated as fire commissioner of Greater New York Nicholas J. Hayes, who has held the office of deputy city clerk since 1898, having before filled that of a clerk in the Supreme Court. The new fire commissioner has not only been a hard worker for the new administration alt through his career, but a conscientious worker in the positions of trust which he has hitherto held.
A labor dispute of some ten years standing between the electrical workers’ and the bricklayers’ unions lias been settled by a compromise. The electrical workers may cut three holes and no more for electric wire conduits in walls of buildings in course of erection—a work that has hitherto been looked upon as that of the bricklayers only. The latter are to cut the holes when the number exceeds three, in arched fireproof ceilings and all brick walls. “Strange there should such a difference be, ’Twixt tweedledum and tweedledee!”
One kiss all round from his motherless children; a sudden breaking away from the supper-table at the call of duty; a hasty ride to the fire; a fearless entry into the seething blaze; a sudden, overwhelming crash; and to his three orphaned little ones is left a sad Christmas, with no father to play his promised role of Santa Claus. With a probationary fireman of only ten days, Chief Coleman fell at the post of duty, their deaths adding two other names to the bedc-rolt of heroes who have sealed with their blood their devotion to duty. Perhaps, never before have so many firemen and policemen all over the United States, shown such bravery in live-saving and at fires as during the last few weeks, and yet, when congratulated on their heroism, they brush aside the compliment with the remark, “Why, that’s what we’re paid for!” These are they whose names should down to posterity on at least an equality with the weys, the Schleys, the Grants, or the Wellingtons— life-savers, not life-destroyers, uncrowned heroes, whose virtues, alas, are too soon forgotten, often not even recorded.
Wholesale groceries seem to be peculiarly hazardous risks from an underwriter’s standpoint. This, of course, results from the inflammable nature of their contents and the impossibility of loss being averted by the use of sprinklers, the water from which, owing to the perishable description of the wares in such buildings, is as disastrous to the goods as the fire itself. The trouble about fires in such establishments is, that they are so fierce and hot as to render the danger of their spreading to other buildings by exposure or otherwise a very likely probability, and hence arises the dread with which they are regarded by the underwriters. And that we do not exaggerate the risks in such fires it is sufficient to point out that the statistics of the last eleven years show a loss of $11,558,300 arising from them—an average of $1,284,255.50 per year from this source alone. During that period there were 195 fires in wholesale grocery warehouses—making the average for each fire a fraction over $59,427. The cities in which fires were most frequent and most destructive were as follows: New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago, seven apiece; Savannah, Ga., Boston, Pittsburg, and Knoxville, Tenn., six apiece; Jacksonville, Fla., four. In the face of these figures, it is not to be wondered at that underwriters view such risks with alarm.
Elsewhere will be seen a very full abstract of the report of the commission on additional water supply for the city of New York, which was appointed by Mayor Low a little over a year ago. The commissioners have performed their work not only with commendable quickness, but with a fulness and completeness which are deserving of the highest praise. They have afforded ample recognition to the great service rendered by Chief Engineer Nicholas S. Hill to the cause the mayor had in view, by embodying in their report a favorable notice of the exhaustive investigations he made into the waste of water in Manhattan borough, and have further shown their approbation of his good work by recommending that it be continued, and that a “system of thorough inspection should be installed, as well as a large extension of meters, not only in buildings, but, also, so placed upon the street mains as to divide the city into districts, the quantity of water flowing into each being measured. By these means it is believed that the greatest possible reduction in waste will be attained.” In that way a large amount of wastage will he avoided, and, by the adoption of .the meterage system, the consumers will be rendered more careful in their methods of using the water. Notwithstanding these precautions, however, the growth of the city renders it imperative that an additional supply of water should be furnished to the city, and that it should be both ample in quantity and of wholesome quality. As to the possibilities in the direction of quantity, these may be looked upon as infinite, since, even supposing the two sources of supply which it is proposed to utilise should prove to be insufficient, there remains always the Hudson river above Poughkeepsie to be drawn upon—an unfailing source of supply even in the driest seasons. As to the quality of the supply: The commission points out that, although the death rate from typhoid fever is less in Brooklyn and New York than in most American cities, yet the general sanitary conditions of the water supplied to all the boroughs is found not to be entirely satisfactory, and though in general carefully guarded from the standpoint of health is occasionally turbid and sometimes, if rarely, evil-smelling. The commission, therefore, feeling that the water supply for New York city should be, like Caesar’s wife, beyond suspicion, recommends that, from whatever source it is derived, it should not be distributed to the citizens till it has been filtered—a wise recommendation, which, if acted up to, will render any approach to an outbreak of waterborne diseases practically an impossibility in this city. In accordance with this view, it is recommended that works should be immediately begun for the filtration of the Croton supply, and that all the new supplies be filtered. It is also recommended that the reservoirs in Central park be cleaned, and that they be covered as soon as the Croton supply is filtered. Another benefiit to be derived from the adoption of the commission’s report is that, however great the cost of its adoption may be. the outcome will be in the line of economy, will secure better fire protection for the citizens, inasmuch as the high pressure from the proposed new aqueduct will eliminate the cost of pumping the high-service supoly for Manhattan and the Bronx, and will furnish a supply for special fire mains, thus affording much better protection against fire than any salt water fire system. In this connection it may also be added that the important pumping stations of the several boroughs have been examined; their condition has been reported; and recommendations are made, which, if adopted, will annually save large sums of money.