LOWELL FIRE DEPARTMENT
During the year 1915 a special appropriation of $12,500 was made for the purchase of new apparatus for the Lowell, Mass., fire department and in the department’s annual report for the year ending December 31, last, Fire Commissioner James H. Carmichael says in regard to this, that $3,500 was transferred to this appropriation from the regular appropriation, making a total of $16,000 for new apparatus and that in the latter part of November a contract was made with the Robinson Fire Apparatus Manufacturing Company of St. Louis, Mo., for a pumping engine and two combination hose wagons and chemical engines. Three thousand feet of new hose were purchased during the year. The expenditures of the department were $193,654.87; balance on hand, $2,419.49; receipts, $196,074.36. Details of the general work of the department are given in the report of Chief Edward F. Saunders, who states the permanent force consists of one chief engineer, two district chiefs, one fire alarm operator, one lineman, three telephone operators, 62 hosemen, five chauffeurs, 20 drivers, 25 laddermen, six engineers of steamers, seven patrolmen, one inspector of repairs. A total of 134, of which 17 are captains and 19 lieutenants. The call force consists of: One assistant engineer. 28 hosemen, seven laddermen. A total of 36. This makes a total of 170, divided into companies as follows: Six steam fire engine companies, six horse hose companies, one with chemical engine attached ; 4 hook and ladder companies, one with chemical engine attached; one protective company. The report includes the following information :
The apparatus of this department consists at present of: Chief’s automobile, 1; assistant chief’s automobiles, 2; electrician’s wagon, 1; electrician’s sleigh, 1; inspector of repair’s wagon, 1 ; combination motors, chemical and hose wagons, 3; motor patrol wagon, 1; steam fire engines, 6; two horse hose wagons, 9; Babcock truck, 1; LaFrance aerial truck, 1; ladder trucks. 2; chemical engines, 2; Hale water tower, 1; fuel wagons, 8 ; hose putigs. 3 ; fire extinguishers, 30. Reserve apparatus: Chief’s automobile, 1; electrician’s wagon, 1; two-horse hose wagons, 3. There are 49 horses in the department service.
This department is maintained by the City and consists of seven permanent men. They responded to two hundred and eighty alarms; in service one hundred and fifty-five hours; spread two hundred and twenty-one covers; used eighty extinguishers and forty-nine tanks; raised three hundred and ninety-eight feet of ladders; one hundred and fifty-six hours inspection duty; traveled seven hundred and twenty-three miles.
A systematic inspection of buildings is made by the members of the Fire Department in order to relieve the fire hazard of the city. Each company has a certain district to inspect, and each inspection is recorded on a printed slip with report of conditions found. These slips arc turned over to the Chief of the Department, and, when the conditions found are considered dangerous, letters are sent to both owner and tenants to have said conditions remedied. 17,167 buildings were inspected during the year by the different companies.
Fires and Losses.
The whole number of alarms during the year ending December 31. 1915, was 926 ; 225 were given from signal boxes; 341 telephones, 191 stills, 11 automatics, 7 exposures, and 151 reported fires. The “No School” signal was given 16 times. There were 430 fires extinguished by chemicals alone, and 131 where water was used. The remaining number were extinguished by other means or had been put out before the arrival of the department. Eighty-nine were in brick or stone buildings; 358 in frame buildings, and 328 other than building fires. The reported fires were mostly in frame buildings. The wliole amount of loss, except the reported fires, was $178,200.54. Insurance, $1,521,614.93; insurance paid, $166,072.87. Loss above insurance, $12,127.67. Valuation, $1,828,735.53. The reported loss was $4,189.66; insurance, $506,621.20; valuation. $555,930. There were 8 alarms out of the city, to which sonic part of the department responded, for which no insurances are kept; Chelmsford i. Dracut 1, N. Chelmsford l, N. Tewksbury 1, Tewksbury 1, Tyngsboro, 3. There have been >16 fires where the loss was $1,000 or over. The total loss on these 16 fires was $153,596.39, leaving $24,604.15 to be divided between the other 759 alarms. A comparison of total number of alarms and losses in 1914 and 1915 shows a large decrease last year as follows: 1914, alarms, 1,028; total loss, $283,281.06. 1915, alarms, 926; total loss, $182,390.20. Among the causes of fires and alarms were: Automobiles, 12; brush, 39; chimneys, 112; false alarms, 19; grass, 122; hot ashes, 15; combustion, 47; careless use of matches, >12; children and matches, 21; reported alarms, 151; rats and matches, 4; out of the city. 8; set by boys, 18; set by tramps, 2; second alarm, 4; rubbish, 37; sparks from chimney, 3; sparks from locomotive, 8; sparks from furnace, 1; spark set roof, 15; thawing water pipes, 7; third alarm, 3; unknown, 2; wires crossed, 1. The number of alarms in each month was: January, 49; February, 46; March, 203; April, 108; May, 61; June. 61; July, 29; August, 25; September, 40; October, 38; November, 57; December, 58; Reported, 151. Total, 926.