The report on the conditions of Trenton, N. J., by the committee on fire-prevention of the National Board of Underwriters cannot but be exceedingly gratifying not only to Chief Allen and the officers and men of the fire department, but, also, to the citizens in general. The streets are kept in good condition—for speedy fire-service —and the citizens should see that, as regards both the water and fire departments, every requisite should be supplied, as far as possible. It must be remembered that Trenton is not only the capital of the State, but is, also, commercially a place of considerable importance. As the chief centre of the pottery trade on this continent it enjoys a high reputation, and is, besides, a city in which other manufactures are extensively carried on. The population is over 84,000. So far as the contour of the city goes, it is practically flat, all the grades being easy. Its streets, however, though kept in good order, are generally narrow, especially in the congested districts, whereby the danger of a fire spreading is considerably increased, all the more that there are in its streets many wooden buildings. Hence, the need of a specially efficient fire department is manifest and this Chief Allen supplies, so far, at least, as the money allowed him will stretch. The underwriters expressly note that the fire record is very good. Their report is as follows:

Water Supply. — Works owned and operated by the municipality. Management fair. Supply from the Delaware river pumped to distributing reservoir, holding about nine days’ supply; distribution in one service. No provision for direct punipage into the distribution system. Pumping capacity adequate. Consumption rather large. Pressures inadequate for individual buildings, protective devices. Main arteries generally of adequate size; but secondary feeders not always well connected to main arteries or to the minor distributers and often entirely lacking. A large portion of distributing mains too small; much sediment in the system. Gate-valve spacing generally good; but gates are far apart in some cases. Hvdrant-spacing fair in congested-value districts; much too wide elsewhere. Many hydrants of unsatisfactory type: in fair condition.

Fire Department.—Full paid; under command of an efficient chief. Inadequate financial support. All companies undermanned. Engines generally in good condition and of fair capacity; reserve engines unreliable. Chemical service good; ladder service deficient. Hose supply adequate. Fuel good. Minor equipment fair. Discipline and fire methods good; but response of engines to alarms in congested-value district weak. Drills inadequate; building inspection lacking. Service as a whole efficient. Fire Alarm System.—Automatic system, insecurely housed. Unsatisfactory management, not under orders of fire chief. Alarm headquarters, equipment limited and incomplete. Telephone system excellent. Box distribution, fair; red lights and key signs lacking; few boxes have attached keys. Circuits, part underground and part overhead; in poor condition and in conduits and on poles with high tension wires. Duplicate circuits to fire houses. Maintenance poor. Service unreliable. Fire Department Auxiliaries.—There is no fire marshal. Prosecution of incendiarism ineffective. Police department co-operates with fire department. Public service corporations render slight aid. Telephone system good and extensively used. Auxiliary alarm service good. Private apparatus, with one exception, of value only in individual risks. Powerful outside aid available. Summary as follows: Water sttpoly adequate; not available in sufficient quantities in many localities, owing to faults of distribution system. Fire department as a whole efficient, although undermanned. Fire alarm system not thoroughly reliable. Building Department.—The building laws are entirely inadequate. Resulting structural conditions in the congested value district arc such as would offer little or no resistance to sweeping fires. The adoption of a new building code is under consideration. Exolosives and Inflammables.—Existing laws not sufficiently comprehensive. Fire department just recently charged with the duty of inspecting buildings and of enforcing the laws designed for the prevention of fires. Except for untidy premises, local conditions on the whole fairly good. Electricity. — No municipal control. Underwriters just getting good control over new inside work. Old inside work receives little attention and is in a hazardous condition. Outside wiring seriously objectionable. Little attention paid to electrolysis; reported trouble slight. Conflagration Hazard.—Severe in the congested-value district on account of the close grouping of structurally weak, conflagration-breeding blocks, with poor interior accessibility, and the narrow streets. That Trenton has not had a serious fire is due largely to the efficiency of the fire department; but past experience has shown that this cannot be depended upon indefinitely. No serious hazard outside of the main district.


No posts to display