Improvements Suggested for St. Augustine
The Florida Fire Prevention Society, after inspecting the fire protection of St. Augustine, Fla., finds the department not sufficiently well organized or equipped to meet the danger of large fires such as may start at any time in the city on account of large areas of closely built-up sections of almost entirely frame construction and shingle roof. The association, therefore, sug gests that certain improvements be made. Th_____ department should be reorganized and fully manned, the officers and crews to be as follows: Chief, assistant chief, two drivers, four hosemen, four hook and ladder men. These should be on duty at all times and to sleep at the central station. In addition, there should he enrolled an auxiliary complement of 15 volunteers or. preferably. men paid for service rendered, organized into three companies, each one of these to man one of the three hose reels now in different parts of the city, the companies to answer only when the chief turns in a second alarm. As the present fire alarm system is antiquated and out of repair. an up-to-date system should be at once installed. Considering the preponderance of narrow streets, frame buildings and shingle roofs, and that, consequently, the conflagration hazard is greater in St. Augustine than in any Florida city, motor-driven apparatus should be at once installed, as the speed in reaching the scene of such fires is of the first importance and cannot be obtained by horse-hauled machines. Also, since there are so many high frame hotel buildings, and it is necessary in case of fire that the firemen should be able to reach the highest floor of any building at a moment’s notice, an up-to-date truck (preferably motor) and fully manned with full paid men, should supersede the present old and heavy machine at present in use. The police also should be instructed how, when there is a fire, they should be able and required by ordinance to render the department all possible assistance For better fire protection, also, the association recommends the installation of a triplex compound pump, the laying of a duplicate supply main from the pumping station to the distribution mains near the center of the congested value district. As the pump house is altogether unprotected, a two-way hydrant should be set within 60 feet of it, with a standard hose house built over it, in which should be stored, ready for use, in case of the pump house being threatened with fire, not less than 100 feet of 2 1/2-inch cotton, rubber-lined hose, two approved 1 1/8-inch play pipes of approved pattern and two hose-spanners, all ready for quick service. The small, frame repair shop in which kerosene and lubricating oils are kept should be replaces! by another house of brick or metal or the oils should he kept in a brick house entirely cut off by a blank parapeted wall. Each pump should he supplied with a flinch relief valve set to open at 135 pounds, or the force main near the pump station should be so supplied, the valve to be standard, fully protected against any tampering with or accident and quickly adjustable at the will of the engineer at the station. Each pump should lie supplied with a pressure gage on the pump side of the check or gate valve in discharge. In the congested valve district hydrants should he set at not more than 250 feet apart; in closely built-up residential districts not over 350 feet apart; in outlying residential sections where yards and lawns are of considerable area about 500 feet.
The Michigan fire marshal law has been amended to give the marshal authority to tear down buildings likely to start conflagrations. He has already condemned a large number of such buildings, but his authority is to be tested in court, a property owner at Lansing having appealed from his order, holding that the law is unconstitutional on the ground that the damage should be appraised by a jury and compensation given the owner.