Notre Dame Has Modern Fire Department
On January 1st of this year, a new 1,000-gallon Pirsch pumper was placed in service at Notre Dame. This apparatus together with a combination pumper and ladder truck now provides first line fire defense to the University.
Modernization of the equipment began in 1939 with the purchase of an International truck chassis upon which in the power plant shop at the University, it was mounted with a 750 g.p.m. pump, a 100 gallon booster tank and hose body. It was then equipped with 1,250 feet of 2 1/2-inch hose, 400 feet of 1 1/2-inch hose, a total of 115 feet of ladders and all tools and fittings of a modern pumper.
The new Pirsch pumper is of standard open type construction with a 200-gallon booster tank, over which is mounted a Multiversal deluge nozzle. 1,250 feet of 2 1/2-inch hose, 400 feet of 1 1/2-inch hose and 150 feet of booster are carried, together with a 24-foot extension, roof and attic ladders. It also carries four portable extinguishers and the necessary nozzles and tools.
Notre Dame’s Fire Department has a distinctive feature that may be unmatched anywhere in the United States. Its eight regular members are men of a religious order. Brothers of the Congregation of Holy Cross. Four lay employees in the power plant also respond on runs in the daytime and come on special calls at night.
From the summer of 1940 until the spring of 1945 the department was housed in a temporary building at the power plant. But in 1945 the University erected a modern two company station with permanent living quarters on the second floor. Besides the private rooms, one for each fireman, the living quarters provide a spacious combination recreation and dining room, a white-tiled kitchen and then, something which probably no other fire station has, a private chapel.
In addition to the alarm desk on the apparatus room floor, a second one is also provided on the floor of the living quarters and a third located in the power plant. As box alarms are received on the Gamewell register in the station, they are simultaneously transmited to the fire alarm station in South Bend, which immediately sends two engine companies, a truck company and a rescue squad on the first alarm.
While independently operated and maintained, the Notre Dame and South Bend Departments work together as one unit. Besides providing protection to the 850 acres of campus with its 120 buildings, the University fire department responds to St. Mary’s College, whose property adjoins the university’s, to any calls within an area of a mile outside the campus, and stands ready to give aid to the city of South Bend anytime extra apparatus may be required.
Pumps located in the power plant, with a capacity of 5,500 gallons per minute at 100 pounds pressure, supply water through 10, 8 and 6-inch mains to the 55 hydrants on the campus. Nearly all buildings are equipped with standpipes supplying water to 1 1/2-inch linen hose on each floor. Two buildings on the campus are partially equipped with automatic sprinklers; the entire stage of the theater and the maintenance shop have this protection.
The functions of the department are similar to those of any city firefighting unit. These include inspection of all buildings, hydrants and fire alarm boxes; care and maintenance of hose and equipment. Before campus dances, concerts or theatricals, all decorations are checked to reduce the risk of disastrous flash fires.
The University of Notre Dame is truly ptoud of the efforts it has made in establishing this fire department and the results it has attained in safeguarding life and PROPERTY-BROTHER BORROMEO, C.S.C., Fire Chief.