NEARLY FORTY YEARS OLD.
Chief Hughes, of the fire department of Louisville, Ky. has been nearly eighteen years in office. He has able assistants in his officers, Edward Bache, Henry Weatherford, and Filmore Tyson, assistant chiefs; Emile Bourlier, secretary, and William J. Steffens, chief operator of the fire alarm telegraph. From the thirty-ninth report of the department (the seventeenth of the administration of Chief Hughes) it is gathered that the amount appropriated by the general council of the city for running the department was $221,000.00; the expenses were $219,396.27. leaving an unexpended balance of $1,603.73 to the good. The department was in service at 525 fires during the year, and the result of its work has been footed up by the board of fire underwriters as follows: Total amount of insurance, $815,967.00; total loss, $79,012.70; insurance loss. $79,012.70. This loss of $70,012.70 is exceptionally small. The loss for the year previous was $437.537-5°which was a very reasonable showing for a city of the size of Louisville. Chief Hughes claims that there is not another city in the country of the same class that can show such a result of a year’s fire service, and he certainly has the right to expatiate slightly upon the business management, etc , etc., of the department. The firemen accepted 525 chances without an error, and with a loss of only $79,012.70. This record Chief Hughes considers “ without doubt, places the department right at the head of the procession.” He points out that the efficiency of the department has been greatly impaired during the year by the scarcity of water. At many fires the men were compelled to lay from 1.000 to 1.500 feet of hose to reach nearest water. This is certainly not as it should be. Chief Hughes suggests the purchase of a new truck for No. 1 hook and ladder company and the removal of the old truck to new engine house at Southgate and Eighteenth streets, also the removal of the No. 3 hook and ladder trucklto the’new engine house at Merret and Preston streets, and the locating of a new fire extinguisher at the No. 3 hook and ladder house.
Fire extinguishers might be placed to advantage, in the central portion of the city, but not to replace the steam fire engines. There is nothing business-like in that propositions, and it is seriously objected to both by insurance companied and property-holders. The extinguishers are very good and handy in small fires, where it is not so warm; but. when the fire is of a dangerous and red-hot variety, playing on it with an extinguisher stream is very much like trying to whistle against the wind, so far as any good it will do It would not be business to think of replacing the steam fire engines by extinguishers. I wish that you could see your way clear to give me one additional man to each company. I have explained in all my late reports that at all fires of any importance I have to call on outsiders for assistance, and that assistance, though willingly rendered, is frequently a drawbick from ignorance of the duty required. One more man to each company will fill a long-felt want. I think that these suggestions of mine deserve your attention, and will receive your approval. The officers and men of the department have always performed their duty well and faithfully, and deserved honorable mention.”
Since the publication of his report Chief Hughes,under date of September 14, recommends as follows; A small size engine for South Louisville, chemical engine for South Louisville. and a small size engine for Parkland—this is new territory. A hook and ladder No. 1 to be placed in No. 17 engine house; a new truck for No. 1 hook and ladder house; building an addition to No. 16, engine house for hook and ladder company; a new truck to be placed at engine house No. 15; a small size engine for Enterprise; a small size engine for Clifton; a chemical engine for Clifton—that being new territory; two chemical engines is the central part of city; dispose of old No. 1 engine, and replace it by a first-class American fire engire; purchase 7.500 feet of rubber hose and 2 500 feet of cotton hose; new wire for the fire alarm telegraph, and a general overhauling of that system. The fire alarm telegraph wires and fixtures (he points out) have been in service so long, and the effect of the smoke and climate is so injurious to exposed wire, that for some years back he has called attention to the condition of the system; but little has been done to improve it; and now a prompt remedy to its worthless condition is almost absolutely necessary. It will require a $75,000 appropriation for the months of September,October, November; and December of the year 1898. This letter has received the favorable consideration of the board of safety. If the general council makes a sufficient appropriation, the suggestions wilf be carried out.
Louisville has a noble record, so far as regards its fire department, and this was not forgotten last August when all the surviving veterans of Reindeer company, which, in the days of the old volunteer companies, was attached to Mechanic fife company No. I, held their forty-sixth anniversary, and went in for an oldfashioned outing at Yann’s Grove, the * old boys ” going and returning in canopy-topped wagons. The number of the old vets is so great in the city that they have a Veteran Volunteer Firemen’s association, and a hall in which they meet. This will be supplanted by a new building —to be erected, however, on an old site, that on which the old Hope No. 4 used to stand, 413 First street. This will be opened at the latest on Veteran Firemen’s Day, the second Tuesday in June. 1899, and will house not only the members, but also their unique collection of fire relics. To this collection Chief Joyner, of Atlanta, Ga., has just presented a New York fire hat,which he wore as a volunteer fireman, and ceased to wear in 1854, when the volunteer service was disbanded. When Atlanta was sacked by the Federal troops in the Civil war, this relic—the only one out of many fire relics in the city —was saved. When the Veterans parade, they will in the future carry a silk banner, on the one side of which will be emblazoned a fire scene in the old days, and, on the other, an appropriate inscription.