MILWAUKEE FIRE DEPARTMENT.
CHIEF FOLEY reports 1,427 alarms and 1,073 actual fires In 1900. The total insurance loss was $286,059.89; total insurance carried on exposed property, $14,987,757.85; total exposed property, $26,637,158. Of the total fires 207 were in brick buildings, and 499 in frame buildings.
All but one of the fires were confined to the building or place of origin, and 1,035 were confined to the floor on which they originated. Not many lurge cities can excel or even equal such a record as that. Chief Foley has instituted regular and constant inspections by the assistant chiefs and captains of all buildings three stories and over—business buildings in particular—in the various districts of the city. These find (says the report sent in by Chief Foley) “on inspection of factories, hospitals, and all this class of buildings, including stores, that there is a decided aversion to the placing of the fire escapes only irt the rear of buildings, and never, with rare exceptions, can they be induced to place the same on the front of the building. There are also some few that positively refuse to comply with notices sent them, even though notices are sent two or three times. The same is also true In regard to the storage and sale of inflammable oils, such as gasolene, naphtha, benzine, etc. With gaso. lene there is little or no attention paid as to the amount stored in Btores for sale, and at any time it requires a great deal of time and attention, iu order to keep them within bounds, or at least in case of fire to know the location of such places thoroughly. Electric wiring is becoming common, and is very dangerous to life and property, and the ordinance, is taken advantage of at every opportunity. One case in point is in the remodeling of a building. Inspector Dunn, not having sufficient help to meet all the requirements of inspection, is helped out by reports when the same present themselves. In this case the owner was placing his electric wiring between the lath and plaster partition In a five-story building, four floors of which were to be used for living apartments, and, in his own opinion, he was all right. This case was reported to Inspector Dunn and was promptly stopped. This is the rule in the majority of cases,and it requires a constant watch, in order to have the buildings erected according to the ordinance though a permit is out so to comply.” Chief Foley recommends that a new steel flreboat be built to replace the wooden Cataract which has been in commission for close upon twelve years— a length of time beyond the limit, particularly for wooden hull vessels and for river service far exceeding the life of an ordinary river tug. He also recommends the improvement of the fire alarm system by replacing the gravity system now in use in the department with the storage battery system, which has been used by other cities at a less expense; also in placing a new switchboard for twenty Bignal circuits at a total cost for all the work of about $4,500. There are now 871 boxes in service, of which 246 are keyless; 180 miles and 1,985 feet of single conductor in the conduit system. Seven thousand, four hundred and forty-two feet of two-inch, 648, of two and one-half-inch steel, and 17,552 feet of McRoy conduit (25,637 feet were laid last year). There is a total of thirty miles, 8,705 feet of conduits. Thirty-one signal boxes were put on flreboat pipe lines, completing that service. It is recommended that a three-inch pipe for the cable crossing the river at one of the bridges which hns been destroyed belaid. Of hydrants, single and double, there are 2,455 set in the city. The officers of the uniformed force, all splendid firefighters, are as follows: Chief engineer and superintendent of fire alarm telegraph, James Foley; assistant chief engineers, Edward Riemer, Herman Meminger, Thos. A. Clancy, Michael J. Harden; secretary, Cyrus W. Allen ; assistant superintendent fire alarm telegraph, George Glassner ; superintendent machinery and apparatus, Edwin Moore; veterinary surgeon, Dr. John T. Unertl. One assistant chief engineer has been added to the strength of the force, making a total of 387 officers and men. It cost $452,915.73 to keep up the department last year, and no citizen of Milwaukee but feels that it is money well spent.
A special correspondent thus describes
A NIGHT FIRE DRILL
at Milwaukee: “Our recent carnival was enlivened by a night drill of the fire department under Chief Foley’s lead and supervision. The city’s firemen, with their apparatus, were drawn up on Grand avenue, west of Eleventh street, awaiting the signal to start, which was the explosion of three bombs. When the first bomb went off, Chief Foley started forward in his wagon and sped rapidly down the Court of Honor, followed at an interval of a very few feet by engine No. 1 and hose wagon No. 1. These took opposite sides at the upper end of the Boulevard. The engine led all the way down Grand avenue, even although it had a very sharp turn to make at Eighth street and the hose wagon was so much lighter. By the time the bridge was nearly reached the wagon of Chief Foley was so closely pursued by the engine that the horses of the latter had to be turned out of the way.
The chief kept on right ahead, closely followed by engines 1, 2, 8. 4, and 8, after which came trucks 1 and 3. Behind these came Assistant Chief Reimer, followed immediately by engines and hose wagons 9 and 10 and chemicals 1 and 4. Next came Assistant Chief Meminger, close on whose heels were engines 14, 20. and 21, with their hose wagons. The rear was brought up by Assistant Chief Clancy, with trucks 8 and 8 and chemicals 5 and 8.
The pace taken throughout was quite a quick trot, by no means that at which the apparatus is driven to a fire. But there was no lack of spectacular effect, nor any of enthusiasm on the part of the large crowd which the exhibition had attracted—the most of the spectators waiting patiently in the rain till the start was made and during the quickly passing parade. Had the weather conditions been favorable, the crowd of onlookers would have been much greater, but many, tired of waiting till the rain moderated sufficiently to allow the exhibition to be given, went home. Those who remained were amply rewarded for their patience, and were full of praise for the fine showing made by Chief Foley, his officers, men, horses, and apparatus. With such a department to fight fire by land and with equally fine crews to man the flreboats, Milwaukee’s citizens need not be afraid of the fire terror by day or by night.”
[The above was unfortunately crowded out of our columns last week, owing to a sudden call upon our space at the last moment.