Improvements at Atchison
FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING is in receipt of a letter from Chief John Compton, of the Atchison, Kan., fire department, a report on which city by the engineers of the National Board of Fire Underwriters was printed in these columns recently. Chief Compton takes umbrage at the printing of the report at this time, as, since the engineers were in Atchison, many important improvements have been made in the fire department. Among these he mentions a new fire station and equipment and the addition of five men to the lighting force. The population of Atchison is 17,000, and it cost between $10,000 and $20,000 to maintain the department last year. Chief Compton further writes:
“Now, as to the losses reported for the last three years, it should be understood that the greater part was caused by grain elevators; we have had two of them burn in the last three years that caused a loss of $190,000. Elevators, as we all know, are exceedingly hazardous, and the best of fire departments are unable to handle them. What insurance was carried on these two was all in mutual companies; regular companies refused to carry them. I simply mention these facts to show that we are not quite as black as we have been painted. We are also pleased to report that the losses for the past 12 months ending November 11 were hut $14,434.65, with insurance directly involved of $195,930. and a piopcrty value of $373,133. One hundred and sixty-two alarms were answered during the 12 months. In conclusion, I wish to say that Atchison has always been, and is now, a big grain and milling point. We have had four elevators and two flour mills burn in the last 20 years that caused a very heavy loss, but we contend such losses arc not due to, or chargeable to, insufficient fire department. Any experienced fireman will bear us out in this statement. However, the underwriters’ reports never mention such facts, and are, therefore, misleading. The truth is, we have an equipment second to none in cities of this size, and our record is Al. Hoping you understand us and that no offense be taken ; that the readers of your valuable journal may get our side of the matter. I am
“Yours very truly,
“JOHN COMPTON, Chief of Fire Dept.”
Atchison, Kan.. November 11, 1913.