MILWAUKEE A LARGER FORCE
For thirty-seven years Milwaukee, Wis., has had a paid fire department, which up to certain period grew with the growth of the city, but has of late fallen back, not in the efficiency of the firefighting force—which is, at least, as thoroughly up to the mark as ever—but in numbers and equipment the department is behind the age. No additional companies were added during the year, although the purchase of a very-much-to-be-desired additional truck was authorised, only to be postponed for lack of funds. More fire stations are needed, especially on the south and northwest sides of the city, and there should be no delay in securing a site for and the erection of a modern and creditable headquarters for the department. As Chief Thomas A. Clancy points out in his report: “Even with these improvements the department will be considerably behind the growth of the city.” During the past year a horse hospital for the care of the department’s sick and injured horses, was erected at a cost of $6,669, and a hose tower was built on to one of the enginehouses at a cost of $1,646. Three addi-
tional firemen apiece were added to engine companies Nos. 17 and 23—fireboats; a new aerial truck was put in commission; a firstsize and two second-size engines to be contracted for to be delivered early this year; 7,000 ft. of 2j4-in. and 3,000 ft. of 3)4-in. hose and thirty-four horses were purchased; the pipe-line system for the fireboats was extended at a cost of $9,258.54; a new telephone switchboard was installed in the operating room of the fire-alarm telegraph system, at a cost of $3,121.27; the underground system for cables_was extensively extended, at a cost of $10,060.90, and an enginehouse site was purchased on the south side. The force and apparatus of the department consists of 454 officers and members; twentynine engine companies, four of which are fireboats; five truck and chemical companies; seven truck companies; one chemical company; one water tower. Chief Thomas A. Clancy is also superintendent of the fire-alarm telegraph system, assisted by Oscar D. Kleinsteuber. There are six assistant chiefs, George M. Linkman, L. A. Vanton, John Wolf, Michael J. Harden, James Gunning and Lawrence A. Hanlan. Thomas P. Manion is superintendent of machinery and apparatus. During 1907 the department answered 1,764 alarms, the total fire-loss was $531,680.75; insurance paid, $528, 060.75 out of $19,375,350 involved: insurance over loss, $18,847,289.25. During the year 9,560F2 miles were traveled by the department, 2.412 hours were spent at fires. 513,910 ft. of hose were stretched. 23,787 ft. of ladder raised. Ten fires caused a total loss of $357,809,441. Twenty-three calls for assistance from outside tile city were responded to, the most destructive of which was that in the carpenter shop of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway company, which showed its approbation of the efficiency of the department by sending a check for $500 for the Relief fund. On this occasion the work of the firemen was handicapped by the shortage of water. Of the fires incendiarism, known or supposed, caused 17; unknown causes, 59; spontaneous combustion, 30; electrical wires, 51; children and matches afire, 52; sparks from matches, 18; carelessness with matches, 85; carelessness not otherwise specified, 70; cigars, cigarettes and pipes, 70; defective chimneys, furnace and stone pipes, fireplaces, furnaces and cupolas, 85; chimney fires, 102; calls on account of coal fires, 253; gas jets, 12; gas, gasoline and oil stoves, 44; hot ashes, 50; lamps and lanterns, 27; oily rags and w’aste, 37; Christmas trees, 8. On reading over the list of fires the most casual glance shows that the citizens of Milwaukee are by no means as careful as they might be in the line of trying to avoid the causes that start what, but for the promptitude and efficiency of the fire department might develop into serious conflagrations. During the year the efficiency of the Gamewell fire-alarm telegraph system was increased by the addition of forty-five non-interfering successive signal boxes—making a total of 534 signal-boxes in service. These boxes are divided and connected with twenty-six metallic circuits; the smallest number of boxes on a circuit is nine; the largest, fifty-one. The total number of miles of wire in service is 575, of which 393 are maintained in underground circuits.