Getting a Line to the Thirtieth Floor
Suggestion by Assistant Chief Dougherty, of the New York Fire Department, Assuming Both Elevators and Standpipe Are Out of Commission
SINCE a fire in the wooden scaffolding around the pyramidical tower of the Sherry-Netherlands Hotel forty-two stories high in New York City last April—a fire which burned itself out for several hours because of a defective standpipe line which had not been maintained in workable condition while the building was being constructed—the problem of reaching such dizzy heights with effective streams from hose lines, has been the talk of New York and other fire departments.
The problem formed the basis of a question asked in a recent civil service examination for promotion to the rank of captain in the New York Department, and since then the subject has been intensified to the point of provoking numerous and various plans or formulae for attacking such a blaze.
FIRE ENGINEERING has published the respective suggestions of Deputy Chief James W. Heffernan and Deputy Chief Henry B. Helm, both of the New York Department and assigned to the high hazard districts of lower Manhattan. In subsequent issues other solutions which have been received will be published.
Chief Dougherty’s Suggestion
Now comes the suggestion of Assistant Chief of Department Thomas F. Dougherty, dean of the faculty in the New York Fire Department College. His plan has the endorsement of Fire Chief John Kenlon, with the following reservation, however, in which Chief Kenlon says:
“It is very encouraging to see so many of the officers taking such a deep interest in their duty as to work out these various fire fighting problems. I take a selfish pride in the fact that they do think of their work as evidenced by so many suggestions made to conquer a fire at such heights.
“While the various solutions presented by several officers have many points of excellence, I am of the opinion however that the solution suggested by Assistant Chief Dougherty is the best thus far. At all events these various suggestions are only make-shifts and should not be regarded by the fire fighting profession as a pre-disposition to countenance or condone violations of the law with respect to the standpipe regulations for buildings in course of construction.
“Standpipes in buildings under construction should conform to law at all times and be maintained in a dependable condition, but since accidents and emergencies are always confronting firemen, I think Chief Dougherty’s scheme is so far the best to meet such an emergency.”
Those acquainted with the chief have been waiting patiently for the plan to he released. Chief Dougherty’s ideas were executed in the sketch by Capt. Fred. Lehman of H. & L. Co. 26 in Harlem.
The Plan of Operation
Chief Dougherty says he would handle such a situation like this:
Order the first and the second companies to the 29th floor, assuming the fire is on the thirtieth floor, and, governed by conditions, detach one man at each set-back on their way up.
The tools to be carried up are as follows:
Four roof ropes, G, one axe. A, one claw-tool, B, two controlling nozzles 1 1/8 in., H, two hose rollers, D, and one two-way gate, E, with reducer, I. The axe and claw-tool to be used for forcing doors.
Place hose roller in position and secure it on the window of 29th floor (sketch No. 3).
The man at lowest set-back to do likewise at cornice of same with second hose roller.
Tie the three roof ropes end to end, using knot shown (sketch No. 4) and lower it to the sidewalk.
Men at set-backs to guide the rope over the cornice as it is being lowered.
During strong wind it might be necessary to weigh down end of the rope with a weight of some kind.
Guide rope along some designated line of windows so that the stretch will be in a continuous straight line.
Order 3rd and 4th companies to the 16th floor with the following tools:
Three roof ropes, one axe, one claw tool, one hose roller.
Detach two men on the way up at the 6th floor with one of the roof ropes.
Order 3th company to lay out in front of the building the following hose:
Four lengths of 2 1/2 in., 5 lengths of 3 1/2 in. and 4 lengths of 3 in. hose.
These allotments of hose to be separately connected up and arranged in orderly manner in half length bends at a point in alignment with the rope being lowered.
Hoisting the Hose
As the end of roof rope from 29th floor reaches the street, it is to he tied to the male end of first allotment of connected lengths of hose (four lengths of 2 1/2 in. hose) as shown in Sketch No. 2 and hoisted up front of the building over hose rollers on setback of the 20th floor and sill of window on the 29th floor.
The roof rope is again lowered and five lengths of 3 in. hose (second allotment of hose) is hoisted to the 29th floor in the same manner as the 2 1/2 in. hose. Pull one length of this allotment in on the floor, untie the end of the roof rope and secure below the male end of the second length, as shown in Sketch No. 3. Then secure the rope to some nearby column or other firm support on the floor and pull taut, allowing the hose above the knot to be free from strain. Now remove the roller from beneath the hose and re-tie, securing on the sill beside the hose. Also secure hose at the 28th floor with ladder strap. Exercise economy in tieing of roof rope to column so that unused rope may be utilized to pull up another three inch line of hose besides that already in place outside the building if conditions warrant it.
(Cant’d on page 335)
Numbers at right side designate floors of building; numbers alongside of hose show lengths of hose.
Getting a Line to the 30th Floor
(Continued from page 320)
Two Lines from 2-way Gate
To the length of three inch hose pulled in on the 29th floor connect a two-way gate with reducer and from each outlet of same (Sketch No. 5) stretch two lines of 2 1/2 in. hose (2 lengths in each line) equipped with 1 1/8 in. controlling nozzles. Stretch one line to the 30th floor (fire floor) via interior stairway or both lines if required (Sketch No. 1).
Members of the third and fourth companies on the 16th floor to work similar to companies on the 29th floor in regard to manner of hoisting hose, securing same with roof rope, economy in use of rope, resetting hose roller. The end of the fifth length of 3 in. hose hanging down from the 29th floor would reach slightly below the windows of the 16th floor. Connect this fifth length to the male butt of the second allotment (four lengths of 3 in. hose) just hoisted to the 16th floor.
Line Continuous from 29th Floor to Sidewalk
Pull in enough hose to make connection, and after connection is made, pass out hose so that the line is continuous from the 29th floor to the sidewalk. In securing the end of the roof rope to the hose outside the window on the 16th floor, follow instructions already outlined for the 29th floor, paying particular attention to easing up the strain on the hose line, by placing most of the strain on the roof rope, allowing the hose above the knot to be eased up.
The fireman left below on the 6th floor shall secure the roof rope to the hose at this level in the same manner.
Connect at Street with Pumper or Hydrant
In the meantime, the members of the fifth company in the street shall complete the stretch with two additional lengths of 3 in. hose and connect them to a pumper or to the hydrant of the high pressure system. Use a high pressure gauge at the hydrant in the latter case.
The total weight of the water in this stretch from the sidewalk to the 29th floor would be 1,143 pounds plus the weight of the hose 605 pounds or a total of 1,748 pounds gross. With this weight apportioned to four roof ropes at the levels indicated, viz., 6th, 16th, 20th. (set back) and 29th floors, and all hose connections made up tight, the stretch of hose is quite secure.
Fair Stream Available at 30th Floor
A fair working stream would be available at the 30th floor with the lay-out as described, using either a pumper or the high pressure system. If necessary shut down one of the hand-lines at the 29th floor to build up the pressure on the second line.
Communication between the men at the different levels could be maintained from telephone switchboard on the main floor or in the case of buildings in course of erection. via a pre-arranged code of signalling by flags or lights.
The outside of the building should be used for stretching in lieu of elevator shaft or stair-well as hose rollers can be placed and secured to better advantage and working space to men hoisting is not so restricted. A similar arrangement, however, as to disposition of forces and manner of carrying out the evolution could be followed.