New Orleans to Have a Fire Boat.
In a recent report to the fire commissioners of New Orleans, Chief O’Conner says :
The terrible siege with which the department had to contend, commencing on Sunday, the 3d inst., and continuing through the week, there being not less than twenty fires, thoroughly tested its ability. The many circumstances presented and the experience derived from the great emergencies constantly occurring induces me to recommend to your honorable body the necessity of improving and perfecting the department in every detail. The absence of rapid communication between this section of the city and the upper fire districts as well as Algiers during the late disastrous fires was sadly felt, much valuable time being lost in notifying the companies in those districts of the second fire, which occurred in a thickly populated portion of the city, while all of the force of the first ami second fire districts were ettgaged in controlling the fire among the cotton presses. The second fire, which occurred under the most unfavorable circumstances, had become a general conflagration before any apparatus arrived upon the scene. Therefore, in view of the fact that the fire alarm system is imperfect and entirely inadequate to the demands ot this department and the protection of property, l beg leave to suggest that the proposition of the Great Southern Telephone Company to connect all the houses used by this department in the city with telephones and a switch board in the file alarm office be favorably considered.
The necessity of large quantities of hose in many parts of the city, where long lines have to lie made in consequence of the absence of water mains and fire hydrants, induces me to recommend that four-wheel hose carriages drawn by two horses and carrying from 1000 to 1400 feet of hose each, be established in the following companies, viz.: Engine companies 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 1.4, 17, 33. 24 and 25. The combination nose strap ami spanner recently introduced into the service has proved to be a useful article. It affords relief to the men and facilitates their operations. I therefore recommend the purchase of five dozen more of them. The absence of water mains or fire hydrants along the river front, the magnitude of the shipping at our levees and the vast interest it represents induces me to suggest to your honorable body the propriety of establishing a fire boat for the harbor protection.
1 am, with great reluctance, compelled to direct your attention to the causes which lead to the difficulties with which this department is beset at times. There are large portions of this city where water mains do not extend, and in these the department when called into service is besieged with the greatest difficulties in suppressing tires. This was notably so at the tire which occurred in the resident portion of the Fourth dis. trict on Sunday, the 3d inst. As a matter of fact water was the one thing wanting. The one fire hydrant at the corner of Second and Annunciation streets afforded but a scant supply, which was totally inadequate Vo prevent the spread of the fire. The same difficulty was experienced at the fire in the resident jKirtion of the First district in the square bounded by Common, Palmyra, Prieur and Johnson streets, on the morning of the 9th inst. The fire occurred in the centre of a block of frame buildings with a strong wind blowing at the time, and that a general disaster did not occur was largely due to the efforts of the department. The subject of proper water supply is one of the greatest importance and one which I hope will receive your earnest attention. Some provision should be made by the proper authorities for the increase in size, extension of the water mains and connecting wells thereto.
The chief engineer’s recommendation concerning the consolidation of the fire alarm systems, and the use of telephones in connection therewith, was referred to a special committee composed of Messrs. Pitot, Simpson and Riley. A resolution was adopted requesting the city council to purchase the fire boat Protector for the use of the department.