Manchester is Well Proteeted Against Fire
Has Well-Equipped and Thoroughly Drilled Fire Department and Modern Water Works—Some History of the Fire-Fighting Forces
THE Manchester Fire Department is under the general supervision of a board of fire commissioners consisting of three members, who are appointed by the mayor for three year terms, one appointment being made each year. The board is at present composed of William B. Burpee, chairman; Arthur L. Prince, and Eugene Quirin.
Chief Charles H. French, the popular and efficient executive head of the department, has been a member of the Manchester fire force for 23 years and has been chief since July 1. 1917. He is first vicepresident of the New England Association of Fire Chiefs and a member of the International Association of Fire Engineers and of the Fire Chiefs’ Club of Massachusetts.
There are two deputy chiefs, Edwin W. Merrill and Arthur J. Provost. The department personnel is about 80 per cent permanent firemen, the remainder being callmen and volunteers. The paid force consists of 117 men, 109 of these being the fire fighting force. There are 32 call firemen and two volunteer companies located in outlying sections of the city.
Apparatus Modern and Well Equipped
The apparatus is modern and well equipped. There are eight motor pumping engines, six of these being Ahrens-Fox quadruplex piston type pumps and the other two Seagrave centrifugals. Engine 4 is an Ahrens-Fox engine of 1,000 gallons per minute pumping capacity; the other engines are of 750 gallons capacity each. There are six motor hose wagons one of which is equipped with a 250-gallon booster pump. Two aerial hook and ladder trucks and four city service trucks are in service, all motor driven. The aerial trucks arc both of Ahrens-Fox manufacture with 85 ft. extension ladder and Dahill hoist which operates by compressed air. They have specially designed ladder beds and carry besides the aerial. 13 other ladders including a 50 ft. extension. 3 roof ladders, and a collapsible ladder. There are two Ahrens-Fox city service trucks, one Robinson, and one American-La France truck. These are equipped with 50 ft. extension ladders and one of the trucks is fitted with a tiller. Two Amoskeag steam fire engines are kept in reserve, also a horse drawn chemical engine and two hose and ladder sleds for winter use.
Personnel of the Department
J. Edwin Rogers is superintendent of fire alarms and Parker E. Merrill is assistant superintendent. Capt. Tom L. Kellogg is clerk of the fire department and Capt. Philip N. Putney is supervisor of motor apparatus. The following captains arc in command of companies: Albert W. Smith. A. M. Tuson, M. R.
Maynard, J. J. Healy, Asa W. Gage. William J. Arnold, Clarence A. Whitcomb, Frank H. Harvey, Henry C. Crosby, Irving S. Bryant, William L. Comire. Harvey E. Harris, and James J. Collins. There are also eighteen lieutenants. The department is operated on the one day off in four system with 14 days annual vacation with pay. Master Mechanic Walter Morse is in charge of repairs to department apparatus at a shop in the rear of headquarters and Deputy Chief Provost directs the department drill school. New firemen are given 30 days instruction and operators of pumping engines are given two weeks special instruction.
The Fire Stations
There are ten fire stations, including the large headquarters building on Vine Street where are located Engine Company No. 1. Engine Company No. 4, Hose Company No. 1. and Hook and Ladder Company No. 1. Engine 2 is situated on Main Street, near Douglas Street; Engine 3 on Lake Avenue near Massabesic Street; Engine 5 at Webster and Chestnut Streets; Engine 6 at Rimmon ami A in or y Streets: Engine 7 on Somerville Street, near Hall Street; Engine 8 on Maple Street, near Nashua Street; Hose 3 on Elm Street opposite Queen City Avenue, South Manchester; Hose 4 at Weston ami Concord Streets; Ladder 3 with Engine 3: Ladder 5 with Engine 5: Ladder 6 with Engine 6; Ladder 7 with Engine 7; and Ladder 8 at South Main and McDuffie Streets.
A steel frame drill tower, 68 feet in height, is located in the rear of the quarters of Hose Company No. 4 on Weston Street. This is near the summit of a hill from which a wonderful view is obtained of the surrounding country. ing Standards of the National Board of Fire Underwriters issued in December, 1925, states that “The records of the Manchester Eire Department show that, of fires requiring the use of apparatus during 1924, about 75 per cent were extinguished by chemicals or small lines. Engine lines with shut-off nozzles with 1 ‘4 inch tips and hose lines with 1 1/8 inch tips are used or ordinary fires. Engines connect to hydrants at once; lines are laid from fire to hydrant or vice versa, using double male and female connections. Standing rules provide that the second line laid be connected to the outside sprinkler connection at fires in sprinklered buildings.”
The two headquarters engine companies use 3 inch cotton double jacketed rubber lined hose and the other companies use 2 Z2 inch hose of similar pattern. Three engine companies and two ladder companies respond to first alarms in the mercantile and manufacturing districts.
Moderate Fire Loss During Five Years
The captains of companies with one or more privates make building inspections semi-annually in the business and tenement districts of the city.
A report by the Committee on Fire Prevention and Engineer-
The report further states that the gross fire loss for the past five years as given in the fire department records amounted to Sl.293.237, varying from $174,720, in 1924 to $311,503 in 1922. The number of actual fires varied from 271 in 1920 to 350 in 1923. with an average loss per fire of §859, a moderate figure.
Equipment of Fire Alarm System
The fire alarm office is on the third floor of the fireproof section of the fire headquarters building. The equipment is a Gamewell manual system with automatic features and includes a protector board for 18 box, 6 primary and 6 secondary alarm and 6 tapper circuits; two 16 circuit battery charging boards; two 8 circuit box relay boards; a 6 circuit each for primary and secondary alarm circuits; a 1 dial, 4 figure, 2 speed manual transmitter; four 4 circuit punch registers for incoming alarms; one 6 circuit punch register with time stamps for outgoing alarms on primary alarm circuit and another without time stamp on secondary alarm circuits; a 16 circuit automatic repeater with contacts on the drum for 16 alarm circuits of which 6 are used for alarm circuits and 1 controls the time transformer; a time transformer for automatic transmission of alarms over secondary alarm circuits, and an automatic repeater for transmitting alarms over tapper circuits to call members’ residences and places of business. All switchboards and instruments are on incombustible mountings with the exception of the telephone switchboard. The current is supplied by 962 storage battery cells in duplicate sets and in a separate room. Each set of batteries is charged every other day, with a monthly overcharge, from one of the duplicate motor generator sets, serviced from a 110 volt A. C. special house circuit. An emergency 506 volt D. C. charging circuit from the Manchester Traction, Light and Power Company is provided in the battery room.
There are 129 fire alarm boxes including five in public institutions and five in the yards of the Amoskeag Mills. Eight tower bells and a powerful compressed air whistle mounted on top of headquarters are connected to the secondary alarm circuits. Five street traffic signals at busy corners are controlled from headquarters and one street wanting gong in W est Manchester is operated from a fire station.
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Manchester Well Protected Against Fire
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In transmitting alarms three rounds are sent out on fast time from the manual transmitter over the primary alarm and tapper circuits, and then three rounds at slower time over the secondaryalarm circuits. The running card provides for response to 3 alarms and for covering in after second alarms. A fourth alarm in some districts and in other districts a third alarm acts as a general alarm and summons the entire department. On third alarms the private fire brigade of the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company. 12 men and a motor hose truck, responds.
In the fire stations where a ladder company and an engine company occupy the same building one captain commands both companies, assisted by two lieutenants.
The Water Supply System of Manchester
The water supply is furnished by a municipal water works; the first works, those of the low service were constructed in 1872; the high service plant was installed in 1893. The high service is sometimes used to augment the supply to the low service. The supply is pumped from Lake Massabesic at two stations, about 4 miles east of the city. One of the stations delivers to a distributing reservoir which supplies the low service. The other station delivers to the high service distribution system and to an equalizing reservoir.
Lake Massabesic has an area of 4 square miles and a total water-shed of 4O square miles. It furnishes an abundant supply which is also sufficient to supply water power for pumping from November to June. The elevation of the top of the dam is 147 feet and of the concrete wall topping of the dam is 149.5 feet, these being the figures representing height above the city which in turn is at an elevation of 100.93 feet above mean sea level.
The following paragraphs brieflydescribing the pumping stations and hydrants are quoted from the latest report of the National Board of Fire Underwriters:
The low service pumping station was built in 1872 on Cohas Avenue, one mile west of the south end of the lake and 4 miles southeast of the principal mercantile district of the city. It is operated dailv as required to supply the low service. The supply is diverted by a masonry dam. built in 1872 and topped with concrete in 1923, at the outlet of the lake, to a canal 1,500 feet long from which a 62 inch pen-stock of steel boiler plate extends 625 feet to a water turbine, and a 24 inch pipe to two centrifugal pumps, connecting to each through a short 12 inch gated branch. Water power is not used after the lake receeds to the level of the dam, elevation 147, and is generally available from November to June. Electric power is purchased from the Manchester Traction Light and Power Company and transmitted over an aerial circuit Sl/i miles long. A transmission line between low and high service pumping stations provides for power from one station to the other. The discharge line from each pump is equipped with a gate and a check-valve and connects with a 24 inch cast iron force main laid in 1912 and extending 7,200 feet to the low service distributing reservoir where it discharges over a weir, so that in case of a break in the main, the reservoir would be drained only about 3(4 feet below full stage.
The High Service Pumping Station
The high service pumping station was built in 1893 and 1901 near the north end of Lake Massabesic, about 3(4 miles east of the principal mercantile district. The supply flows from the lake through 300 feet of 24 inch, cast-iron pipe to a suction well within the station. The outer end is 255 feet off shore and is fitted with upturned bell and copper screen 8 feet below the level of the dam. A reciprocating pump drafts from the well; two centrifugal pumps are primed from the force main and have a common system of suction piping, drafting directly from the well or through the condenser of the steam turbine. The discharge lines from each pump have a gate-valve and connect outside the station with a 20 inch cast-iron force main laid in 1893 which extends 19,200 feet to the high service reservoir, connecting to the distribution system of that service enroute and also, through a 20 inch valve normally closed, with the principal distributor of the low service.
Ordinary operation is the requisite time daily to supply the high service. During the water power season, the 5,000,000 gallon centrifugal pump is used with electric power from the low service pumping station; at other times the 6,000,000 gallon reciprocating pump and one boiler are used. With two boilers in service the steam turbine can produce about 500 k. w. which is sufficient to operate the 5,000,000 gallon high service pump and the 6,000,000 gallon pump at the low service pumping station.
The Reservoirs of the System
The low service reservoir, built in 1872 on Mammoth Road, between Island Pond Road and Cohas Avenue, 2 1/2 miles southeast of the principal mercantile district, has a capacity of 18,000,000 gallons for depth of 20 feet; elevation of full line 261.5. Ordinarily storage ranges from 16,000,000 to 18,000,000 gallons. It is constructed of heavy earth embankments, with inside slopes paved with stone on concrete and floor of concrete. The force main from the low service pumping station enters over a weir; outlet is through a gate-house into a single 30 inch pipe. A 24 inch by-pass is provided.
The high service reservoir, built in 1893 on Oak Hill. 1 miles northeast of the mercantile district, acts as an equalizer and distributor for the high service. The construction is masonry and concrete wall backed by earth embankment. The lull line at elevation 398, depth 19.6 feet; capacity 4,000.000 gallons; the storage maintained rarely falls below 3,000,000 gallons.
Arrangement of Mains and Hydrants
Of the original installations of mains laid in 1872-3, which consisted of 27 miles of cement lined, wrought iron pipe, 8,400 feet of 20 inch in Lake Street and 45 feet in 6 inch connections to hydrants are still in use. Of the total mileage at present in service 28 percent has been laid since 1909 and 12 percent since 1915. For several years past, 6 inch has been the minimum size laid for hydrant supply.
On December 31, 1924, there were 1,055 hydrants in service, of Holyoke, Ludlow, Pratt and Cady, Smith, Boston Machine and Chapman makes. The Holyoke predominate and are used for new installations. All are of the post type with frost jackets, open clockwise, and have one 4(4 and two 2(4 inch outlets. The newer installations have 5 inch foot valve and 6 inch barrel; the older, 4 inch and 5 inch, respectively. Connections are 6 inch. Nearly all on mains 12 inches and larger and some on 8 and 10 inch have gate in connection.
The hydrants are usually set at the northwest corner of street intersections. The locations are determined by the water department and the requests of the fire chief are complied with, the hydrants have automatic drain valves and are installed with iron hood and loose gravel to facilitate drainage. Where drainage proves to be poor the hydrant is filled with wood alcohol in winter. Hydrants are inspected semi annually and after use at fires. Troublesome hydrants receive special attention in winter, a steam boiler being provided for thawing. Hydrants are seldom found frozen when required for use at fires. Those used during the last National Board inspection were in good operative condition.
Protection of the Business Sections
In the center of the business sections the average area served by each hydrant is 50,000 square feet. Ill a representative residential district the average is 133,500 square feet. Of the 26 hydrants and 28 adjacent to the principal mercantile district, all The population of Manchester is about 82,000 ami it is an important manufacturing center. The ground is undulating with several steep grades. The city lies on both sides of the Merrimack River and covers an area of 33.9 square miles, about 2/3 of which is built upon. The chief articles manufactured are cotton and woolen products and knit goods, shoes, cigars, brushes, knitting machines, and needles. The city is on the main line of the Boston and Maine Railway route from Boston to Montreal.
Remarkable System of Charts Designed by Chief
Chief French, of the Manchester Fire Department, with the aid of Capt. Tom Kellogg, chief clerk, has devised a remarkable system of charts showing the number of alarms received, valuation of property, per capita losses, company response, and other details. In the alarm record charts gray shading represents bell alarms, red denotes still alarms, and blue shows the total number of alarms answered.
The fire department band, which will he heard during the convention. is a splendid organization and one of which Chief French is justly proud.
Early Volunteer History Incomplete
The records of the volunteer fire department of early days in Manchester are meagre and incomplete and the annual reports now in existence do not go back further than the year 1879.
The following is a list of former Chief Engineers of the fire department and the time when they held office N. S. Bean, 1865-1866; Israel Dow, 1867-1868; Edward P. Richardson, 1869-1870; Benjamin C. Kendall, 1871-1875; James F. Plterson, 1876. Others who held the position of Chief Engineer were A. H. Lowell and Daniel Fling.
Ex-Chief Thomas Lane
Thomas W. Lane was elected chief engineer in 1879 and served as head of the department until July 1, 1917, when he retired and Deputy Chief Charles H. French was promoted to chief which position he has held from that date up to the present time.
Chief “Tom” Lane was one of the most famous and picturesque figures in the fire service. He was born in Wentworth, N. H., on May 20, 1841, and in 1843 his family moved to Hooksctt, N. H., where he later attended school. He came to Manchester and for some time was connected with a newspaper, “The Mirror.” He entered the fire department in April, 1864. as a call man. He then became a permanent fireman attached to Hose Company No. 1 where he served as clerk, assistant foreman, and foreman. In April of 1889 his friends presented hint with a gold watch to record his 25th anniversary in the department. He was elected to the Board of Fire Engineers and made clerk of the board in 1877 and in 1879 he was appointed as chief engineer, or chief as it is now generally called. In 1890 he was nominated for mayor by the Republicans, but was defeated by a small margin. For many years Chief Lane drove a beautiful white horse which seemed to delight in rushing the chief’s buggy to fires ahead of the other apparatus. The chief had a pet dog which accompanied him to fires and in later years occupied a scat in the chief’s automobile while responding to alarms.
Chief Lane belonged to a great many societies and clubs and was Secretary of the Manchester lodge of Elks. He was a very popular official and a man who did much to improve the Manchester department. It is recalled that on one occasion the motorman of a Concord trolley car refused to stop when the fire alarm sounded and although the chief shouted at him the motorman continued to send the car along the main street ignoring the order to stop. Thereupon Chief Lane deliberately drove his buggy onto the track in front of the car and to avoid striking him the motorman was forced to stop. The matter was reported to the street railway officials. Chief Lane died on Apprii 3. 1920. The old hand engine in East Manchester formerly called “Neptune” was renamed “The Thomas.
W. Lane” and this tub took part in many musters.
Equipment in 1879
In the year 1879 the Manchester Fire Department had four Amoskeag steam fire engines, two hose companies, and one ladder company, one hose sled, and one supply wagon, all the apparatus being horse drawn. At this time the companies, bore the following names: Amoskeag Steam Fire Engine Company No. 1, located on Vine Street; Fire King Steam Fire Engine Company No. 2, located on Vine Street; E. YV. Harrington Steam Fire Engine Company No. 3, located at Piscaaquog;
X. S. Bean Steam Fire Engine Company No. 4, located on Y in’ Street; Pennacook Hose Company No. 1, located on Vine Street; Massabesic Hose Company No. 2. located on Maple Street: and Excelsior Hook and Ladder Company No. 1, located on Vine Street.
The famous Amoskeag steam fire engines, known all over the world for their efficiency and widely used in the fire service, were for years manufacturd in Manchester. They were made by the Manchester Locomotive Works under direction of N. S. Bean.
Fire Alarms in 1879
There were 22 alarms of fire in Manchester during the year 1879 with a totat loss amounting to 832,233.81. The record of fires is interesting as it show’s many of the same causes of fires as now. Defective chimneys seem to have been a prolific source of alarms.
Here is the list of alarms sounded in Manchester in the vear 1879:
Thursday, Jan. 9—t :o2 A.M., Box 5, fire in Tovvne’s Block, corner of Elm and Amherst Streets; Loss, $1,758.81, insured for $I,733-8I, cause cigar stub in wood closet.
Friday, Jan. 10-—1 :3o A.M., Box 26, fire in Chenette’s blacksmith shop, corner of East High and Russell Streets; loss $125, fully insured, cause incendiary.
Friday, Jan. 17—-11:30 A.M., Box 6, fire in building owned by George H. Hoyt at 133 Hanover Street; loss $100, no insurance, cause carelessness.
YYednesday, Feb. 19—-5:40 P.M., Box 71, burning chimney, needless alarm.
Friday, Feb. 28—12:35 P.M., Box 24. fire at 464 Central Street in house owned and occupied by Charles E. Cutter; loss $2,800, insured for $2,000, cause defective chimney.
Saturday, April 12—8:10 P.M., Box 21, burning chimney at Patrick Burke’s, 52 Merrimack Street, needless alarm.
Sunday, April 13—5:05 P.M., Box 71, fire in tenement house at 118 Spruce Street, owned by Mrs. F. L. Stark and occupied by Jeremiah Mahoney and Patrick Costello; loss $700, cause defective chimney.
Tuesday, April 22—-4:20 P.M., Box 61, fire in Kimball and Gerrish’s tannery situated in Bakersville about one and one half miles from central station; loss $13,000, insured for $9,000, cause supposed overheated drying room.
Monday, May 5—8:20 A.M., Box 7, boiling over of tar kettle on Lowell Street, near Chestnut, no damage.
Wednesday, May 21—1:45 A.M., Box 4, fire in building owned by Daniel Connor in rear of 601 Eim Street and occupied by Mrs. Sarah Shanley; loss $75, fully insured, cause kerosene lamp.
Thursday, May 29—6:30 P. M„ Box 15, Bradford’s Block, Elm Street, near bridge, oily waste in bureau : loss trifling, cause spontaneous combustion.
Thursday, August 7—12:50 A.M.. Box 8. burning lime at Armory Mill; extinguished without aid from department.
Monday, Sept. 1—2:10 P.M., Box 4, fire in shed at corner of Spruce and Chestnut back street, owned by heirs of William Plumuer; loss $25, no insurance, cause incendiary.
Friday, Sept. 12—1 :2o P.M.. Box 51, fire in planing mill and box factory of S. C. Forsaith & Co.; loss $5,000, insured for $3,000, cause spontaneous combustion of fine coal.
Saturday, Oct. 4-—7:20 A.M., Box 71, fire in barn of William F. Sleeper & Co. in rear of Park Street ward room; loss $300, patly insured, cause carelessness of boys with matches. YVednesday, Oct. 22—7 :55 P.M., Box 4, fire in planing mill and box factory of A. C. Wallace at lower end of Elm Street near gas works; loss $1,000, insured for $650. cause unknown.
Sunday, November 2—2:50 A.XL. Box 24. fire in residence of Luther W. Hall on East Park Street (Hall’s Hill) loss $6,000. no insurance, cause defective chimney.
Thursday, Nov. 20—1 :55 A.M.. Box 62. fire in house owned and occupied by Charles H. Colburn on Taylor Street. Hallsville; loss $1,400, partly insured, cause defective chimney. Saturday, Nov. 22—10:30 A. M., Box 6. fire in bed at ‘448 Chestnut Street, occupied by Robert Costello, damage slight, cause matches.
Saturday, Nov. 22—7:25 P. M. Box 18, fire in house owned by the Misses Mary E. and eBlinda Dearborn at corner of Xlerrimack and Lincoln Streets and occupied by them and Charles F. Gardner; loss $550, insured for $350, cause defective chimney.
Thursday. Dec. 4—8:4c P. M., Box 7. fire in wood shed of Lowell Street school house; loss trifling, cause ashes in wooden box.
Saturday, Dec. 13. 11:30 A. M., Box 4, burning chimney in tenement owned by A. D. Gooden on Spruce Street.
Total gross loss for year, $32,233,81; insurance, $18,733.81; loss uncovered, $13,500.
Early Increases in Equipment
In April, 1888. the General Stark Steam Fire Engine was added to the department and located on Webster Street in the North End. A chemical engine was purchased the following year. In 1893 the Fulton Steam Fire Engine Company was established and an aerial ladder truck was purchased to replace the old truck of Excelsior Hook and Ladder Co., the old apparatus being assigned to Engine 3 station.
Engine Company N’o. 7. consisting of an Amoskeag steamer and hose wagon, was placed in service in 1907 and a city service hook and ladder truck was bought in 1911.
The First Motor Apparatus
The first piece of motor apparatus was purchased by the city on October 1, 1910. This was a Knox combination chemical and hose wagon which was called “The Flying Squadron” and placed in the Central Station in charge of Capt. Frank H. Harvey. Later it became known as “Squad A.” Additional motor apparatus was purchased in 1912, 1913, 1914, 1916, and 1918, and the motorization of the department was completed in 1924.
Fire Fighting During Period 1879-1899
During the 20 year period from 1879 to 1899 there were a total of 751 bell and still alarms in Manchester, an average of about 37 alarms a year. The total gross loss in this time was $726,499.66 and the total net loss, deducting insurance paid, was 8158,513.19. This makes a yearly average of only $7,952.66 net loss and the yearly gross average loss $36,322.48.
In the year 1883 there were only 13 alarms with total net loss of 81.260: there were 12 alarms in 1881 and a net loss of 82,570. In 1879 the net loss was 813,500 which amount was but once exceeded until 1891 when the North Weare Railroad Bridge was burned. The Kimball and Gerrish Tannery was burned the same year as the bridge. In 1880 there were 24 alarms for a total loss of S12.000.
The year 1881 had a small loss and the 30 alarms, more than the preceeding year, caused a net loss of only $2,570.
In 1882 there were 30 alarms and the net loss barely exceeded $4,500. In 1883 there were 13 alarms with gross total loss of $6,725.50 and net loss of only $1,260. In 1884 there were 30 alarms and the net loss went up in something more than direct proportion, being almost five times as great.
In 1885 the losses, with 7 more alarms than the preceeding year, again increased, the net geing $7,795. The total loss that year was a little more than $24,000. In 1886 the figures fell to $12,806 gross and $5,500 net. The next year the number of alarms was 50 of which 23 were still alarms. The total loss was $17,919 and the net loss $4,808. In 1888 the agregate losses went up to $33,902.04 with raid insurance of but $19,182.23 which made a net loss 814,719.71. This year the Col. Benjamin C. Bean residence was burned with a loss of nearly $16,0000. In 1889 the number of alarms went tip to 59, but the loss fell back to a net total of $2,414.62 as there was big insurance on the property damaged.
I11 1890, in spite of 65 alarms, there was a total loss of hut $16,533.28 with a net loss of 86.507. This was the year that the French Catholic Church of the St. Marie Society burned. The estimated loss on the church was about $10,000, so the losses on the other alarms were only about $6,000 or a little more.
In the year 1891 the loss amounted to $59,542.63. of which $16,315 was net. The Kimball clothing fire in the Weston, Hill & Fitts block, occurred this year with a loss of over $26,1X10 gross. The Manchester and North Weare bridge also burned with a loss of $24,000 and insurance of $10,000. In 1892 the number of alarms passed the 100 mark with a total loss of $116,210.05, on which an insurance of $94,124.04 brought the net loss down to $22,086. The Varick fire on Elm Street caused the great loss, the damage in this alone amounting to nearly $100,000.
In 1893 there were 106 alarms with a total loss of $88,447.90 and a net loss of $17,043.32. The John Robie fire caused the heaviest loss this year, which loss was nearly half of the total loss for the year. The next year was one of small damages and net loss of only 5$11.268.44 with total of 136 alarms and but one second alarm. In 1895 there was a total loss of S40.1XX) and net loss of only 82,510.30. In 189o the total loss fell to $24,000 with net loss of only $3,000. and the following year the figures were nearly the same. In 1898 the total losses jumped up over the $100,000 mark with hut 10 per cent covered by insurance. There was a Varick fire this year and another in the dreaded flatiron district in McGregorvilie.
Some Later Big Fires in Manchester
The three largest fires in Manchester in recent years were the Kennard Block fire on January 14. 1902; the burning of the Merchants Exchange Building on January 29, 1914; and the Varick Block Fire on June 24. 1924.
The Kennard Block was a handsome stone structure six stories in height and was considered one of the finest business blocks in the state of New Hampshire. It was occupied by stores on the ground floor and by offices in the upper stories. The blaze originated in the rear of Kimball and Allen’s clothing store and spread with great rapidity. It was discovered about 10 o’clock in the evening while more than a score of people were in the building, some attending a meeting of the Board of 1 rade. All reached the street in safety. The Kennard Block was entirely destroyed, only tottering walls being left standing. The south end of Smyth’s block adjoining was scorched and blackened and a big hole burned in the top. It was only after the hardest kind of a fijtht that the firemen saved this block and prevented what might have developed mto a conflagration. Concord. N. H„ sent a steam fire engine, hose carriage, and 24 firemen by special train in charge of Asst. Chief John J. McNulty. Nashua sent a steam engine, Hose Co. 4, and 20 men in charge of First Assistant Engineer ). E. Smith and these companies rendered valuable aid. The loss was estimated at $400,000.
The burning of the Merchants’ Exchange took place on January 29, 1914. This building was situated in the heart of the retail shopping district on Elm Street, between Hanover and Manchester Streets. It was a four-story brick building occupied by the Merchants’ National Bank, stores, and offices. The fire originated in the store of Leslie M. Folsom and was discovered at 4:24 a. m. The flames had obtained such tremendous headway that Chief Lane at once ordered a second alarm and shortly afterwards a third. Seven steam fire engines worked at the fire, including one from the Amoskeag Mill. Wagon guns and searchlights from automobiles were used to aid the firemen. Damage was estimated at $700,000.
The Varick Store Fire occured 011 June 24, 1014, and caused damage of $600,000. The flames broke out at 12:15 a. m. and a general alarm was soon sounded. The fire was one of the most spectacular in the city’s history, paints and oils in the stock of the Varick hardware store feeding the blaze. Adjoining blocks were damaged and the fire was not under control until 7 a. nt. A new gasoline pumper built for the Fore River Shipyard and in town for demonstration jturposes worked four lines at the fire.
Manchester’s Most Serious Fires
The following is a list of the most serious fires which have visited Manchester according to the existing records:
Xlay 14, 1840—Amoskeag Island Mill destroyed.
August 12, 1844—Town house burned with loss of $30,000.
May 28. 1848—Two most ancient of Amoskeag Company’s mills burned. Loss. $70,000.
March 16, 1850—No. 2 Xlill, Stark, partly ruined. Loss, $30,000. July 5. 1852—Baldwin & Co.’s steam mill on Manchester Street, between Union and Pine Streets, burned.
Sept. 22, 1853—Main building of Manchester Print Works burned. Loss $265,000.
July 15, 1855—No. i Mill, Manchester Print Works, burned with loss of $270,000,
Feb. 5, 1856—Patten’s Block fire. Building ruined. Loss, $75,000. June 3, 1857—Janesville mill of Baldwin & Co. destroyed. Charles Horr killed by falling walls.
Dec. 20, 1865—Greater part of State Industrial School burned. March 1, 1867—Crain, Leland, and Moody Shoe factory at Amoskeag destroyed.
July 8. 1870—The famous “big fire” that swept area bounded by Elm, Chestnut, Hanover and hack streel between Merrimack and Manchester streets and caused damages amounting to $375,000.
June 26, 1882—Museum Block fire on Elm Street.
August 7, 1885—Webster Block fire. Several lives lost.
Oct. 17, 1890—St. Marie’s Church destroyed.
May 14, 1890—Eliot Hospital fire. Mrs. Daniel Harritnan burned to death.
Feb. 7. 1892—Big fire in store of the John B. Varick Co.
Feb. 18, 1892—Fire in St. Anselm’s College.
Jan. 14, 1902—The Kennard Block destroyed with loss of $400,000. March 4, 1905—Car barns of street railway destroyed.
April 8. 1909—Bit* fire* in South End. Militia called out.
April 28. 1910—Odd Fellows’ Block burned. Two killed. Loss, $125,000.
August 20, 1913—Serious fire at Manchester and Merrimack Streets.
Jan. JJ, 1914 — Merchants’ Exchange destroyed with loss of nearly $700,000.
June 24, 1914—The Y’arick Block burned with loss of $600,000.
Companies and Officers of Department in 1926
The following is a list of Companies and Officers, Manchester Fire Department in 1926:
Engine Company So. 1, Vine St., Capt. Asa W. Gage, Lt. Frank E. Nute.
F.nginc Company No. 2, Main St., Capt. Clarence A. Whitcomb, Lt. F. M. Laraba.
Engine and Ladder Company No. 3. Lake Ave.. Capt. Henry C. Oosby, Senior Lt. Herbert E. Dunbar, Junior Lt. John T. Duncan.
Engine Company No. 4, Y’ine St., Capt. William J. Arnold. Lt. E. H. Smith.
Engine and Ladder Company No. 5. Webster St., corner of Chestnut St., Capt. Irving S. Bryant, Senior Lt. Leon H. French, Junior Lt. Clarence F. Kemp.
Engine and Ladder Company No. 6. Rimmon St., corner Amory St., Capt. M. R. Maynard, Senior Lt. John W. Lyons, Junior Lt. Charles C. Caron.
Engine and Ladder Company No. 7, Somerville St., Capt. William L. Comire, Senior Lt. Peter J. Reilly, Junior Lt. Clarence Hackett.
Engine Company No. 8, Maple St.. Capt. Harvey E. Harris, Lt. C. R. Hammond.
Hose Company No. 1, Vine St., Capt. Frank H. Harvey, Lt. Martin F. Kenney.
Hose Company No. 3, Elm St., Capt. James J. Collibs, Lt. F. P. Cleveland.
Hose Company, No. 4, Weston St., Capt. John J. Healy, Lt. L. D. H. Ford.
Ladder Company No. 1, Vine St., Capt. Albert W. Smith, Lt. H. G. Hall.
Ladder Company No. 8, South Main St., Capt. A. M. Tuson, Lt. C. H. BKirhart.
Riverside Hose Company No. 5 (Volunteer), Front St., opposite Atnoskeag St., Capt. Daniel Colby, Lt. William Robinson. Massabesic Independent Hose Company. Candia Road, corner of Londonderry Turnpike, Capt. H. E. Magoon, Lt. Alfred I.allier.