—In Handling Incipient Fires?

—In Handling Incipient Fires?

Can Be Handled as Easily as Chemical Line—Very Suitable for Attic Fires—Interior Use of Hose Prevents Fire’s Spread

IT will be noted that the ideas of Chief Short in the following paper coincide very closely with those of Chief Stanton. Chief Short entered the fire department of Oakland as an extra man in Engine No. 2 in May, 1893. He was appointed driver for Engine No. 6, June, 1884, and was transferred to Engine No. 1, October, 1894. His first promotion, that of foreman of Engine No. 1, occurred in March, 1903. He was raised to district engineer, August, 1908, and second assistant chief, July, 1911. He became first assistant chief in October, 1917, and his final promotion to the head of the department occurred July 1, 1921.

It is my purpose to enumerate some of the advantages the use of 1 1/2-inch hose and the gratifying results obtained in the Oakland fire department.

Prior to 1915, 1 1/2-inch hose was used only in cleaning up after a fire. Very little thought had been given to bringing it into general use as an aid in extinguishing fires. In the latter part of 1915, upon my recommendation, each of the companies comprising the Oakland fire department was equipped with 400 feet of 1 1/2-inch hose, a divider (2 1/2 inch to 1 1/2 inch), and two shut-off nozzles each having two tips, 3/4 inch and 1/2 inch.

Equipment Carried on Apparatus

The equipment, made up and carried on the apparatus in a separate compartment, consists of a short 3-inch lead line, the Gorter nozzle shut-off attached to same, with barrel removed, to which is attached the divider with 100 feet of 1 1/2-inch hose connected to each outlet, and to this is attached the nozzles with 3/4-inch tips. It is so made up that on stretching in a line all that is necessary is to break the coupling at the wagon, join on the lead line and then lead in the two lines where necessary. This leaves 200 feet for a change of hose.

Handled as Easily as Chemical Line

The primary purpose of the use of this hose is the extinguishment of small fires and roof fires with as slight water damage as possible. Three men have made a hydrant connection, coupled on the lead line and extinguished a large roof fire on a two-story hotel with a very slight water damage. One man connected line to hydrant and turned on the water; the other two, after making coupling, took lines to the attic and the roof. Had three-inch hose been used it would have required three men at the nozzle, not to lighten mention up others on hose, ti etc. The 1 1/2-inch hose is handled practically as easily as the chemical hose and therefore requires the minimum of man power.

Chief S. H. Short, Oakland, Cal.

How Companies Handle Hose

Orders have been issued in the Oakland fire department that the first company arriving at a fire shall lead in with two small lines; the second company, if necessary, will lead in with large line. It is safe to say that 85 per cent, of our fires are extinguished with small lines.

Obviously, to extinguish a fire we must reach its base. This is done more easily with the small line. For example: We have a fire in the basement of a four-story building having six vertical unprotected openings, such as elevator shafts, stairways, hoists, pipe cases. Using the large hose these openings would require a line each with at least twelve and possibly eighteen men. These same openings could be amply protected with three large lines equipped with 1 1/2-inch lines, using six men to handle them, reducing your hose, number of men and pumps by half.

The small lines play their part in extinguishing a basement fire but a distributor nozzle is used on one line and a standard nozzle on another. The line equipped with the Murray distributor is taken in first and drives the smoke and heat ahead and the flames are extinguished with the second line equipped with the standard nozzle. This method often prevents a water loss which would most assuredly occur if the basement were flooded with the circulator or heavy lines.

Ease of Operation A Feature

The ease with which the small lines may be shifted about was responsible for the quick stopping recently of a fire in a fair sized garage. The fire, which had gained considerable headway due to the fact that another fire of some proportions was in progress in the neighborhood, had consumed many auto tops, was attacking the tongue and groove partitions, roof trusses, and had broken through the roof. The fire was extinguished with the small lines with at least fifty per cent, less water damage than would have been the case had the larger lines been used.

“Obviously, to extinguish a fire we must reach its base. This is done more easily with the small line. For example: We have a fire in the basement of a four-story building having six vertical unprotected openings, such as elevator shafts, stairways, hoists, pipe chases. Using the large hose these openings would require a line each with at least twelve and possibly eighteen men. These same openings could be amply protected with three large lines equipped with l^lines, using six men to handle them, reducing your hose, number of men and pumps by half.”

In working off a dry standpipe it is only necessary for two men to remove the small line equipment from wagon and, placing it upon their shoulders, ascend the ladder or fire escape to vantage point, turn on the gate valve and they are ready to work. In this way a line may be used on two separate floors or two lines on the same floor, enabling a working range of 100 feet in which very effective work may be done.

Most Suitable for Attic Fires

Many of you have often pulled up to a dwelling fire too large to employ chemical lines and you have ordered water. You have observed the great amount of exertion necessary to get your big line into the various rooms, up stairways, attics, etc. In most dwellings a scuttle hole has been provided for access to the attic. This is generally placed in a closet or bathroom and it is almost impossible to get through this opening with the three-inch line and when you do a great deal of water is used unnecessarily. By using small lines on such a fire the first company to arrive stretches in with two small lines, a small ladder is placed in the scuttle hole and a man with the line enters the attic and directs the stream at the fire, shutting off the water as soon as the blaze is stopped. If the fire has dropped down the second line may be easily taken from room to room. Try these small lines and the most skeptical fire chief will be convinced of their practicability.

Interior Operation Prevents Spread

Take the case of a recent fire at a fuel and feed establishment located in a district built up with one and two story frame buildings. The fire spread rapidly and soon had complete control of the fuel plant and was spreading to adjoining buildings. A fourth alarm was pulled for this fire which was practically confined to place of origin. A building, east in line of the flames, was ignited, a two-story frame, occupied as stores with dwelling overhead. The flames caught the roof and entered the windows on both floors. A large line was playing on the fuel yard building and also hitting the exposed side of the stores and dwelling but was not reaching the inside. A company was ordered to lead in with two small lines, one upstairs and one downstairs. This procedure killed all the fire that entered and permitted the wetting down of adjacent roofs from the window’s. Only three men were required for this operation.

Use in Lumber and Dock Fires

Also, in the case of a lumber yard fire very effective work may be done, the small lines being used among the piles of lumber and the larger lines concentrated on the main fire. They are employed successfully fighting fires along the waterfront docks, as they may be easily handled in a small boat, the large lines being too cumbersome for this work.

(Continued on page 1259)

Chief Short on 1 1/2-Inch Hose

(Continued from page 1236)

Great freedom of action is permitted in fires aboard ships.

Advantages of 1 1/2-Inch Hose Noted

The advantages of this type of fire hose on which I have already somewhat elaborated, may be summed up as follows:

An incipient fire may be quickly extinguished.

Water damage reduced to a minimum.

Reduction of man power and less liability of injury to men than where large lines are employed, it being not so necessary to find a “safe” place for men and hose before turning on the water.

Reduction of pumping equipment.

At a nozzle pressure of 65 pounds the 1 1/4-inch nozzle will deliver about 372 gallons per minute. At the same pressure the 3/4-inch nozzle used on the 1 1/2-inch line will deliver about 135 gallons per minute, or 270 gallons when both nozzles are used.

The 2 3/4-inch hose with shutoff nozzle, filled with water, will weight about three and a half times as much as the 1 1/2-inch line filled.

It can be placed in operation in less than half the time required by the larger line.

In residential districts where water supply is limited, with few hydrants, and where long stretches .of hose are necessary to reach the fire, the two 1 1/2inch lines prove their worth.

When finishing up at large fires they are ideal equipment for wetting down, or watch lines.

To those chiefs to whom this subject is new I cannot too strongly recommend the adoption of the 1 1/2-inch line as part of your equipment if you are interested in reducing your annual losses from fire and water, the cost of which equipment is low compared with results obtained and results are what we all desire.

The approximate cost of a company’s equipment is as follows:

Divider (McLaughlin 3-way valve)………… $ 35.00

400 ft. of 1 1/2-inch hose …………………… 200.00

McLaughlin nozzle ……………………… 30.00


The lead lines are made up from the good pieces of burst hose.

The Gorter nozzle is used in most departments. This may be eliminated by using an adapter, 3 inch to 2 1/2 inch, but if it became necessary to use the big line you would have to shut down at the pumps, whereas if the Gorter shut-off is used all that is necessary is to shut it off, remove the divider and replace with the barrel and open up the Gorter.

Oakland Department’s Specifications for 1 1/2-Inch Hose

Below are given the specifications of the 1 1/2-inch hose as required by the Oakland fire department:

The hose to be best quality one and one half (1 1/2) inch double cotton jacket, rubber lined, with perfectly smooth water way, in fifty (50) foot lengths, with expansion rings and one and one half inch standard screw couplings complete, with Higbec thread. The name of the manufacturer and the month and year of manufacture to be stencilled upon every piece of hose twice in each fifty (50) foot length, with black indelible letters, one inch in height, these marks to be near the couplings. Also the couplings to be stamped with the name or initials of the maker of the hose and the month and year of manufacture, in letters not less than one quarter (1/4) inch. All hose furnished to resist a pressure of three hundred and fifty (350) pounds to the square inch, and to be guaranteed against defective material or imperfect manufacture, for a period of three years from the time of acceptance.

Bidders will bid only on the best quality of hose, and will state in proposals the name of the brand of hose they propose to furnish, and submit samples of the same.

(From paper read before the annual convention of the International Association of Fire Engineers at Richmond, Va.)


No posts to display