Notes from Winfield, Kan.
[From An Octasional Correspondent.]
WINFIELD, KAN., December 12.—Monday evening was pay evening for the fire department for the quarter ending December I. Twenty-one members drew $321 for their work for the past three months. This is an exceptional heavy pay-roll, and exceeds that of the preceding six months.
The two hose companies have a coupling apparatus on the ends of the cart tongues, and the city drays are provided with a similar attachment, so a safe and quick coupling is easily effected, and the way the drays take the reels to fires astonishes the natives.
No effort has been made to provide the department with new hose and as the old is practically “gone up,” we expect a costly object lesson before we can get the council to make the much-needed purchase.
While it is true that the water-works pay but little interest on the Investment, it is due to the fact that their consumer rates are almost prohibitory, while the water is as low in quality as the rates are high.
Chief Kuhns will, it is reported, resign his position as chief on the first day of the new year. Inasmuch as he will hereafter have a life partner in the shape of a brand new wife, the boys, while regretting the loss of their chief, wish him much happiness in his prospective union. Mr. Kuhns has been long in the service and has been a faithful and efficient chief and earns a rest from the arduous labors which his position entailed upon him.
Winfield’s fire loss has been very small the past year, not exceeding $3000 all told. This, in a large measure, is due to the promptness and efficiency of the boys and the location of the fires, and not to the power of the water-works, which has been, in many instances, very small. Our fires have been chiefly confined to barns, the causes being in the majority of cases the combination of mischievious boys and matches, but in no case have the offenders been caught.
The skies in all directions have been for weeks illumined by the light of extensive and destructive prairie fires, and many farmers have lost their all, owing to the high winds carrying the fire across the fire breaks. A prairie fire is indescribably grand and yet terrible and infinitely more exciting than the burning of a block of buildings, or at least is to the writer, who has had some varied and thrilling experiences in the line of fire duty.
Hose Company No. 3 has just equipped themselves with bran new uniforms from Cairns of New York and are quite nobby in their new ” togs.”
This city needs a small steamer the worst way, but in the light of recent events it is not probable that we will get anything in the way of additional fire equipment for a long tflne in the future, as the council helped a lot of “ stuck ” investors out of a hole by donating, or, under the pretense of buying a city park, giving to these capitalists $20,000 for a lot of waste land, worth probably one-third of the price, bonding the city to the last notch to buy the “white elephant ” and letting needed repairs and additions to the city go unnoticed.
While it is not in the line of fire department news, I cannot refrain from giving a sample of the prohibitory law enforcement, which will readily explain why Kansas is so in debt and called the ” Calamity State.” Last week a hotel cook was arrested, charged with selling six bottles of beer, and found guilty of the offense, which took place in August. He was fined $100 for each bottle sold ($600 in all), and sentenced to jail for 180 days. The cost of conviction was nearly $100, while his board for the 180 days will cost the county another $72, and as he has no money to pay his $600 fine, that means 600 days in jail, or $240 more, making a total of $412 expense to the county to effect the punishment of one “ jointist,” as they are called. Inasmuch as there are about fifty similar cases on docket this term of court and three terms of court a year the result is easily seen. This, remember, is for one county only, and then think of the result in a whole State under a similar law. OCCASIONAL.