PROGRAM OF MODERNIZATION FOR PAWTUCKET, R. I., FIRE DEPARTMENT
New Fire Department and Fire Alarm Signal Headquarters Building and System is Dedicated and a Modern Sedan Pumper is Successfully Tested
ON January 10 thousands of citizens of Pawtucket, R. I., took advantage of the formal public opening of their new Fire Headquarters building to inspect the Gamewell fire alarm system, witness demonstrations of the Ahrens-Fox sedan type Piston Pumper and closed body service ladder truck, and look over all parts of the wing of the new City Hall, which is the modern Headquarters and Fire Alarm Central Office of the Pawtucket Fire Department.
The City Hall has been erected with PWA grant and loan and exclusive of land and furnishings represents a cost of about $400,000. Adding to this, the cost of the complete new Gamewell fire alarm system, new fire apparatus, and miscellaneous furnishings of the City Hall and Police and Fire Department wings, the improvement represents an investment of approximately one million dollars.
Program of Modernization
In connection with the general plant improvement—new buildings, fire alarm and radio signal systems, and modern apparatus, Mayor Thomas P. McCoy and Director of Public Safety Harry F. Curvin have embarked on a comprehensive program of modernization and improvement of the Fire Department which has already resulted in the completion of the headquarters building, the putting into service of the additional engine and ladder companies required for the manning of the new apparatus at headquarters, the addition of forty men to the uniformed force, the appointment of another Deputy Chief, and the installation of the two-platoon system. The department now consists of Chief Napoleon Taupier, Deputy Chiefs William T. Connolley and James McCaffrey, eleven captains, eleven lieutenants, and eighty-five firemen, organized in seven engine and four ladder companies in seven stations.
Fire Headquarters and Fire Alarm Station
The fire headquarters wing of the City Hall is separated from the main building by a fire wall and is so situated that full credit is received for an isolated Fire Alarm Central Office. The building is separated from the nearest exposures by the Blackstone River in the rear of the structure and large open areas on the other sides, which are being formed into a City Hall Park.
The Fire Alarm Office extends across the rear of the apparatus floor, being separated by fire resistant walls and openings. On the second floor are the offices of the Chief and Deputy Chiefs, dormitory, recreation rooms, officers’ quarters and bath and locker rooms. In the basement are store-rooms, garage and complete shop facilities for the maintenance of apparatus and fire alarm system. The basement floor is at ground level in the rear of the building and will be easily entered by the largest apparatus.
Formal Opening of the Station and Demonstration
Fire Chiefs and other officials were invited from all parts of New England to the formal opening of the new headquarters on January 10 and the demonstration of the Ahrens-Fox sedan type pumper at Slater Park. After the various pumping tests had been completed, the visitors were the guests of the Ahrens-Fox Company at buffet lunch in the recreation building at Slater Park.
New World’s Records Claimed at Test of the Pumper
What were claimed to be world’s records were made by the new pumper at the Slater Park demonstration. On one test this engine, which is rated at 750 g.p.m., delivered 935.5 gallons at 250 lbs. net pump pressure, developing approximately 2 1/2 times its rated water horsepower. A spectacular test was made by pumping through 110 sections —5.500 feet—of 2 1/2-inch hose in a single line. On the first try with this layout several sections of hose burst after the pump pressure had reached 450 pounds and before the water had traveled through the more than a mile of hose to reach the nozzle. After the burst lengths had been replaced another attempt was made and without further mishap an effective fire stream was produced. Suction was from the lake in Slater Park.
The sedan pumper seats nine men— three on the driver’s seat and three on each of two lengthwise seats placed forward of the hose compartments and reached by an aisle through the center of the body. This arrangement permits a hose capacity of 1,800 feet of 2 1/2-inch standard fire hose, and ample mounting space for the standard equipment of an engine company. The booster tank is of 100 gallons capacity, with the booster hose carried on reel at the rear of the apparatus.
The Fire Alarm Signal System
The fire alarm signal system, which was demonstrated to the visitors by Deputy Chief Connolley, is of the latest type. The signal room is situated in the rear of the station. A feature is the “Vocalarm,” which enables the operator to talk with each station separately or with all stations collectively. A siren has been placed on top of each fire alarm box and sounds when the alarm is pulled. This is intended to discourage false alarms.