NEW FIRE HEADQUARTERS IN DUBLIN

NEW FIRE HEADQUARTERS IN DUBLIN

Capt. Thomas P. Purcell, Chief Officer Dublin Fire Department.

After many delays, a new headquarters for the fire brigade of the Irish metropolis has been built and Dublin’s firemen are now lodged in buildings worthy of their calling. The new building stands at the corner of Tara and Brunswick streets—a comparatively central position, very prominent and very conveniently situated as it gives on broad thoroughfares leading to every part of the city. As will be seen from the accompanying ground plan, the building has a Great Brunswick street frontage on the south of 76 ft. 6 ins.; Tara street on the west, of 141 ft., 6 ins., and to Townsend street on the north, no ft. 6 ins. It covers an area of 2,450 sq. yds., which includes the ground on which the buildings stand and a spacious inclosed courtvard for drilling and other brigade purposes. The buildings are of red pressed brick, with moulded limestone, or granite dressings and coping. All the structures are of fire-resistant construction, with handsomely finished interior, and over the entrance is an imposing dock-tower 125 ft. high, part of which is utilised as a hose tower. The total cost of the building was $109,200, of the ground (including legal expenses), $41,850. Accommodation is provided on the upper floors for twenty-nine unmarried firemen. The engineroom is 17 ft. high; the walls are lined with white enameled bricks, relieved by colored bonds; a floor is laid with an incline to the exits and paved with adamatine clinkers. Three brass sliding poles from the upper floors stand in convenient recesses, and three steam heating radiators in suitable niches; the floors above are supported by four massive lattice steel girders, with lined ceiling of pitch-pine in panels between. Accommodation is provided for five engines or other horsed vehicles and two motors to be always ready for running. The stables are 16 ft. h’gh. and correspond generally in finish with the engineroom. The watchroom is a bright, well-lighted apartment, and contains a fine telephone and fire-alarm annunciator switch cabinet of Dublin workmanship, together with apparatus for controling the entire working of the station, including lighting, heating, and water supply. From this station pipes and wires lead to the district stations and every part of the city. A block of buildings, three stories high, fronting Townsend street, constains a residence for the second officer, and quarters for nine married firemen and their families. Between the married quarters and chief officer’s house the block of two-storyed buildings contains, on upper floors, corn store, paint loft, with two-ton traversing hoist, and a steam laundry; on the ground floor, a general store, workshop, with 3-h. p. 3-phase electric motor, line-shafting and corn-bruising mill, and engine repairing nit; beneath is a chamber for experiments and training recruits to working in smoke. On the other side of the yard is a reserve stable with two stalls and a loose box, an cnginehouse, 42 by 24 tt.. for reserve apparatus, and on the fireproof floor above is ,the forage loft, with a chute leading down to the stables. Beneath the yard is a large water tank from which the engines are tested and the sewerage system flushed periodically, and, standing up over the stable flat, is a drill tower 67 ft. high, constructed of steel, with skeleton front and doors representing a six-storied building. On this tower the firemen are practised In the use of life-escapes and lines, also scaling by means of pompier ladders, life-saving, etc. To those who remember the Dublin of a generation or two before the present headquarters building was erected the contract between then and now is most striking. The (ire-protection consisted of parish engines in a more or less doubtful state of repair, manned by haphazard crews, the police engine, an oldfashioned hand engine belonging to Trinity college, manned by the college porters and, volunteers from the ranks of the students, and if the emergency were grave, engines from the barracks, manned by the soldiers. The water supply was capricious and generally defective, and it was not till after a series of fatal fires in 18^0 that a local committee of The Royal Society for the Protection of Life by Fire was established, and maintained five fire-escapes at five different churches, with men in charge all night. Tn T86T the burning of the Kildare street club, accompanied by loss of life, injury to many persons and the difficult rescues of several more caused the establishment of a properly organised force, which was accomplished through the efforts of Sir John Gray, proprietor and editor of the Freeman’s Journal—the man to whom Dublin owed its first supply of potable water, which, however, was not perfected till 1868. when the Vartrey high-pressure system was installed. In 1862, after the passage of the Dublin Fire Brieade Act. a brigade of twentyfour men, with a superintendent, was enrolled, which superseded the Voluntary society, taking over its appliances and establishing itself in the Old Assembly House, in Coppinger’s row. where branch in Whitehorse yard. Its equipment consisted of seven fire-escapes and four manual engines drawn by hired horses, when required. The first steamer was purchased in 1864, a second heing added in 1867. In the following year the introduction of the highpressure water system added considerably to the efficiency of the fire protection of the city, and was a great assistance to the brigade, enabling them to do even better work than before. The manual force and appliances were gradually increased, and today the strength is forty-eight officers and men, all full paid, besides two turncocks. The equipment consists of three steamers, three aerial ladders, six fire-escapes, the usual appliances and thirteen horses. In 1862 the first chief officer, J. R. Ingram, took charge. On his death in 1882 Lieutenant John Boyle succeeded, and, on his retirement in 1892, his place was taken by Captain Thomas P. Purcell, an energetic, intelligent and thoroughly up-to-date fireman, a member of the International Association of Fire Engineers, who in 1893 and afterwards in 1901 visited the principal cities of the United States and thus became well known to the chief engineers of this country. He is a man of inventive talent, and a fire-escape of his invention, by which the difficulty of the overhead wires is surmounted, bears witness to his talent in that line. Under his promptings the lire brigade of Dublin has been reorganised on modern lines and improved year by year, without straining the resources of the department, which by statute is restricted to 2}4d. in the pound sterling—5 cents in every $5—out of the public water rate. Four good sites for firehouses have been purchased, and in ten years $300,000 has been expended on building and equiping with modern apparatus three new stations. One other station will soon be built to take fhc place of a makeshift affair in some tenement houses. The system will then be complete and on a satisfactory basis. During forty-four years to the end of 1906 the Dublin fire brigade has attended 22,616 fires. At these fifty-five lives were lost and 142 were saved. Property estimated at $59,800,000 was saved and $6,535,350 lost. For twenty years the average annual loss was $165.095—an amount which during the past five years has been re duccd to $83,275 per annum. In concluding this notice, it may be pointed out that in Dublin was the first European city to 11 si electric telegraph for fire-signaling purposes. This was continued up to 1883. when the telephone took its place. The system has been so generally extended as today to be available to citizens by means of the fire-alarm post in the streets.

Courtyard Rear of Central Fire Station, Dublin.
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