HOW DAWSON FIGHTS FIRES IN WINTER.
A correspondent at Dawson, Yukon Territory, in a letter to FIRE AND WATER, tells how they light fier in his far distant city. After alluding to the destructive fires that have visited that wooden town, he goes on to say:
“Considering the fact that Dawson is practically only four years old, it is safe to say that its fire department is unequaled by any city of its age in the world. Built entirely of wood, the buildings closely packed together, hoalod by huge wood burners, consuming three and four-foot lengths of fuel, the chimneys consisting of six stovepipes passing through metal protectors, with absolutely no water system, as far ns fire service is concerned, minus any alarm system, except the telephone, and with an Arctic climate to add to the difficulty, the men have fought fire so far during the winter of 1900-01 so successfully that the fire loss will not reach $15,000. A summary of the fire army shows that the Dawson fire deps rtrnent consists of twenty-one paid men, and has two fire halls. It has three steam fire engines (the Waterous, No. 1 size, capacity, 1,100 gallons; the Clapp & Jones, and the Ahrens, with a capacity of 700 gallons each); a double eighty-gallon Champion chemical; a single forty-gallon Champion chemical; two hose wagons; three hose reels; and a Seagrave truck. There being, as I said, no waterworks, the engines are kept in houses built on the ice of the Yukon, and at intervals of about 1,000 feet. These houses are connected with the fire halls by an electric signal, which is rung when an alarm is turned in, notifying the engineers to fire up—from fifteen to twentyfive pounds steam pressure is constantly kept by the use of Standard super-heaters. Owing to the peculiar conditions existing from the steamers being immovable, the hose wagons are obliged to carry enormous loads. No. 1 cart carries 1,800 and No. 2 2,300 feet of hose, and the reels 650,700,and 950 each. The harness, which isof the Hale type, was put together in Dawson, and everything is the same in both halls as on the outside, with the exception that there being no alarm system, the horses are rung out and the gong rung by a lever, operated by the man responding to the ’phone. I forgot to say that Dawson has in all 9,000 feet of hose. We fought fire this winter at sixty-eight degrees below zero, and averaged a call a day through the month of January, during which month the thermometer registered nearly sixty degrees below for a fortnight on end, and never got above forty degrees. At the Cribbs and Rogers fire we had six lines, 800 and 900 feet to a line. Using seven-eighth-inch and one-inch nozzles, we pumped for one hour and forty minutes, and drowned the fire out. We could not have used that hose much longer, as King Freeze-up had reduced the calibre of the lines to about one-inch. Then all that hose has to be broken by the aid of hot water and hung in the hose tower to thaw out and dry, and the chemicals and the ladders given hot water and steam treatment for the same complaint. On the whole the life of a Dawson fireman is not all a dream of Paradise.
“The Dawson City department can get on the street fifteen seconds after an alarm is rung in, and does it right along. Several of the men are experienced firemen from the outside, and the rest are Dawson firemen, with the experience that comes from two years’ work at the game in Dawson. The chief, H. A. Stewart, is from Vancouver, and has been with the department since 1898. The cost of maintaining the Dawson fire department is between $90,000 and $100,000 per annum.”