Our Western Letter.
OFFICE OF FIRE AND WATER,
202-206 LA SALLE STREET,
CHICAGO, Jan. 4, 1894.
Boston Fire Commissioner Murphy’s comparisons of Chicago fires and his inferences therefrom, in his article in the last issue of FIRE AND WATER, have stirred up decided comment here, and refuting facts will be forthcoming in my next letter.
The record shows that the full equipment of the Chicago Fire Department on New Year’s Day was; Total number of men, 1045; total number of horses, 460; steam engines, 78; chemical engines, 26; hose cart carriages, 100; hook and ladder trucks, 31; fire boats, 4; hand engines, 3; water tower, 1; hose, 150,000 feet. There was one engine company and two truck companies added during the year 1893. The total value of all property owned by the department is $2,370,000.
There were 6971 fire alarms during the year ending midnight, December 31, 1893.
The World’s Fair Fire Department now only consists of one fireboat, the Queen; one steam engine company. No. 63, and one chemical company. The balance, like the Fair and the roses, have faded away.
Chief Swenie signed a check on Tuesday, January 2, for $105,627, this sum representing salaries of the department for December.
During the year 1893 the roster of the fire department was changed as follows : 132 members were appointed, 38 discharged, 10 resigned under charges, 26 resigned temporarily, 6 were retired and 13 died.
There were 272 promotions made; 16 members were made lieutenants, 5 assistant engineers were made engineers, 10 lieutenants were made captains, 4 captains were made chiefs of battalion, and 1 chief of battalion was made assistant fire marshal.
The newspapers are busy publishing the fire loss for the year just ended, as being $188,356,940 in the United States. Now, such figures do not deceive any one with intelligence enough to think for one moment. That they are grossly exaggerated is seen at a glance. At any figures put opposite any fire one will investigate, as for instance, on January 12, fire in Kansas, Mo., loss accredited $350,000. This refers to the Jaccard fire. The entire loss was adjusted for less than $80,000. January 18, Ninth Street Theatre, loss $100,000: the actual loss was less than $30,000. On November 18, Western Storage Warehouse, the loss is set down at $200,000; upon adjustment it was found to be less than $50,000. November 30, fire in Chicago is set down at $185,000; it actually was less than $32,000. And thus one could go through the entire list. Now, the question naturally arises, why give these false values ? Who does it benefit ? What is gained ? Who and what is behind all this gross falsehood ? Of course we can surmise and guess, but withal we think it a high piece of foolishness.