PAWTUCKET FIRE-DANGERS.

PAWTUCKET FIRE-DANGERS.

The fire department of Pawtucket has to contend against many brush fires. During the past fortnight, owing to the long-continued spell of dry weather, these have been more than usually numerous, and, with the exception of one or two, have demanded the attention of the firemen. The great danger lies in the fact that many of the fires start in the woods and are not discovered till they have gained considerable headway before the fire department is called to, or can reach them—and usually they are so far away from any hydrant that even when the firemen reach the scene, there is nothing to fight the flames with. The woods and fields in the vicinity of the Beveridge Hill road appear to have recently given the firemen a lot of trouble. There are dwellinghouses close to these fields and woods, and, if the fires should get beyond control, the loss would, without doubt, be considerable. All of this trouble is due to carelessness, and much of it could be avoided, if the police were sufficiently on the alert. A few days ago someone set a fire of this character in the rear of the McDuflf lumber yard, and, as there happened to be a high wind blowing up the river, the flames in brush, which had been thrown from the timber that was cut there last spring, were soon racing along towards the big lumber piles. The firemen reached the scene none too soon, and they had a fight to prevent some of the piles of boards from igniting. Had these caught, as they most certainly would have done in a very few minutes, there would have been considerable loss, especially as there arcseveral dwellinghouses in close proximity, which would have been likely to go with the other property. But, with such a watchful and efficient head of the fire department as Chief Lewis F. Butler, that was next to impossible. His record and that of his subordinates, in the face of the difficulties made for him by the National Board of Underwriters Iras always been, and continues to be that of one whose city, although a wooden one, can show a smaller loss in the fire-zone than that of any other in New England. The weak spot in the equipment seems to be that the whole reliance of the department is on the high-pressure water service and the combination chemical and host wagons. The fire-pressure at the hydrants, of which there are about 620, is 80 lbs., and the other pieces of apparatus are up-to-date and kept in thorough working order. The exception is the two small-sized, single-cylinder steamers which arc keot in reserve. These are obsolete in type, and too much dependence should not be placed upon them, nor should so many electrical wires be allowed to be overhead. These might prove a .serious handicap under certain conditions. It would seem the safer policy to get rid of the two steamers and substitute two ofthe second-class for them. Tft that were done, what with the water service, on whose improvement $300,000 is to be spent, and the rest of the equipment, the city ought to be able to meet any emergency. The equipment consists of six hose companies and three hook and ladder companies, with nearly 17,500 ft. of good hose, twenty-two horses and the Gamewell fire-alarm system installed. There are over forty permanent men and several call men. Chief Butler has two assistant chiefs under him; the discipline of the department is good: the men are content and work efficiently; the water supply is ample; and. were it not for the over-meddlesomeness of the insurance men. there would be no trounle over the fire protection.

Chief Lewis F. Butler, Pawtucket, R. I.
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