Continuation of Promotional Test Problems as Solved by an Officer ho Received the Highest Mental Rating in Examination

(Continued from last issue)

(Answers given by Battalion Chief John J. T. Waldron, in examination for Deputy Chief, New York Fire Department. The “Comments” at the conclusion of the answers were written by Chief Waldron after the examination in order to further clarify some of his solutions.)

Administration—Part 1 (Continued) To Be Finished at 1:00 P. M.

Questions 7 and 8—The building in the preceding question runs through the block with unprotected windows facing the streets on north and south sides. The east wall of the building, while blank partway, has three tiers of windows with sheet metal shutters overlooking a frame shed and five to ten feet diagonally from unprotected windows on a three-story brick department store adjoining and frame dwellings. On the west the building has blank wall partway, otherwise, wired glass in metal sash and frame windows are twenty to thirty feet from a two-story brick and five feet from frame dwelling exposures. West of this fire, there is an extensive frame district with wood shingle roofs predominating. Wind is from S. E. blowing 25 miles per hour.

The north side of the building faces a sixty-foot street, one block long, on which are hut two fire hydrants connected to a six-inch main. Fire hydrants are well distributed on other streets.

The first alarm companies, under command of a battalion chief, have been placed in position and are working in accordance with the regular practice of the New York fire department. As deputy chief you arrive with second alarm companies and remain in complete charge for one hour. The response to this location is four motor pumping engines ami two trucks on first, three motor pumping engines and one truck on second, three motor pumping engines and one truck on third, three motor pumping engines and one truck on fourth.

Explain, using sketch if necessary, how you would have fought the fire which occurred in this building.

Answer to Questions 7 and 8

On arriving on 2nd alarm, I would probably find that Engine Co. 1 had stretched into Blank Street entrance of 3 story portion, Engine Co. 2 to rear through 1st floor of 4-story portion and as Engine 3 and 4 had arrived shortly after the first two they had been placed to cover possible extension to other buildings. I assume that one of these companies is using a street stream into 2nd floor and covering exterior extension of fire on the Blank Street side, and the other is in position in alley to rear of the department store.

There is a great danger of conflagration with a situation as now exists. An extensive frame district, and with shingle roofs is in direct path of line where wind from southeast would he carrying heat and possible embers.

The adjacent department store and other buildings on the block with the fire, most of which are frame, and the frame dwellings on the opposite side of Dash Street all make a further extension possible.

On arriving I would immediately transmit a 3rd and 4th alarm. As the principal fight must be to confine the fire to the buildings now involved I would place 2 of the 3 second alarm engine companies to the leeward of fire, covering the side of the burning 4-story building to break down the heat exposure of the buildings on the opposite side of Dash Street and also protect the frame buildings on the west side of the building involved. The 3rd due engine company on the 2nd alarm would be placed in the alley at rear of the department store to cover this point of exposure. If any of the engine companies which responded on the 1st alarm had a wagon equipped with a deck pipe, such wagon would have been placed on the Dash Street side with orders to cover the north wall windows of this front of the burning structure.

The question having stated that the fire had complete possession of the 2nd floor of the building when the department arrived and assumed fifth alarm proportions within 36 minutes is illustrative of the physical conditions which must have been present as to material involved and condition of building with open or otherwise unprotected vertical openings such as stairways, etc., which makes an outside fight imperative.

When 3rd and 4th alarm companies arrive, I would have roof streams put in position on the Dash Street side opposite the 4-story building where fire started. I would also place at least two streams on east side to protect the frame 3-story buildings and shed, streams to wet down such buildings when heat shows it is going to affect them and through the windows in the east wall of the fire building. Two streams would also be placed at the west side covering toward rear of fire building, supplementing the first due engine which came on 2nd alarm. Lines would also be stretched to cover the two-story buildings on the south side of the block involved and lines would have been stretched through the department store to cover windows or if there be no windows on the west wall of the department store these lines would be taken to the roof.

When it was seen that the 4-story building was involved, the company which had stretched into the 1st floor after arriving on 1st alarm would have retreated and taken a street position, on Dash Street (North of burning building) and by sweeping their stream across the face of the frame buildings on the opposite from fire as well as directing their main stream into windows and other openings in the wall of the burning buildings, they should have materially aided in holding this line of attack and preventing extension until re-inforcements could be placed at this side.

The water tower would have placed at the north side and stream directed into upper floors of burning building.

I would have directed truck companies to enter the department store, close all iron shutters on windows of same, move stock away from walls or windows where there might be any possibility of any fire communicating to same by radiation or convection, and to maintain a patrol, in this building, using buckets to extinguish any incipient fires which might occur.

I would have attempted to empty the refrigerator plant of any ammonia, if same could have been done in the early stage of the fight but after the men had been compelled to back out of the building the chances are that it would not have been possible to either leave a line connected to the Siamese of the emergency mixer (intended for relieving refrigeration plant of ammonia) or to waste the service of the line for that purpose.

A patrol would have been established to wet down shingle roofs and other frame construction in the path of heat and flying embers to prevent such construction igniting. This is particularly necessary to the north and west of the fire location, spare men, salvage corps and citizens could be used for this purpose.

If any sprinkler heads fused in the department store, a line of hose should have connected to Siamese connection to supply this system, but water should have shut off by H. and L. Co. patrol if fire did not enter or shows signs of extension to this building. This patrol should seek to limit water damage from this cause if same occurs.

With companies placed as described, there would probably he a total of 13 engine companies and 5 truck companies responding on a 4th alarm assignment, and with lines as placed there would be no doubt as to my confining the fire to the buildings involved upon my arrival.

Comment on Questions 7 and 8

This question No. 7-8 cited conditions which actually existed and a fire which occurred in the Borough of Brooklyn, New York City on the block bounded by Broadway, Grove Street, Central Place and Greene Avenue and which was made subject of a report by the Netv York Board of Fire Underwriters. The fire was commonly referred to as the “Bohack Grocery Store Fire” as it originated in such store. The writer having read such report prior to examination used such knowledge as well as he was able to remember, and where same could be applied. This answer received a rating of 91.50 per cent.

(To be continued)

Fifteen Bids Received for Construction of Oak Park, Ill., Reservoir—Award will soon be made by Oak Park, Ill., of a contract for the construction of a 5,000,000-gallon reinforced concrete reservoir for which plans and specifications were prepared by Maury & Gorden, Chicago engineers. Fifteen bids have been received for this project ranging from $129,750 to $195,000.

Alabama Power Co. Buys Utilities of Three Alabama Cities —Announcement has been made that the Alabama Power Company of Anniston, Ala., has bought the holdings of the Sheffield, Ala., Public “Utility Company in the three cities of Sheffield. Florence and Tuscumbia. The price is reported to be around $3,000,000 and the properties involve water, power, electric car lines, barns, and light utilities in these cities with the exception of the water plant in Florence which is municipally owned.




Continuation of Promotional Test Problems as Solved by an Officer Who Received the Highest Mental Rating in Examination

(Continued from last issue)

(Answers given by Battalion Chief John J. T. Waldron, in examination for Deputy Chief, New York Fire Department. The “Comments” at the conclusion of the answers were written by Chief Waldron after the examination in order to further clarify some of his solutions.)

Administration—Part 1 (Continued) To Be Finished at 1:00 P. M.

Questions 3 and 4—Using the company locations as determined in answering the preceding problem make an assignment or running card for response to a fire alarm box located in the center of the shaded portion of the city as shown on the sketch. Work this card out for fourth alarm response.

Answer to Questions 3 and 4

Assignment to be on following basis: In high value district—2 engine companies and 1 truck on 1st alarm.

In this city outside of a general alarm, the prevailing practice would be to call companies after 2nd alarm byspecial call unless the condition was a real extreme.

Comment on Questions 3 and 4

The wording of answer “in this city.*’ of course referred to the nearby city for which answer was given in Question 1 and 2. Owing to fact writer wrote this answer in the last moments of the forenoon session and as time was short, could not answer as fully as he desired. But with a limited number of comopanies such as a town of this size would be provided with. I believe the assignment as given would be typical and little comparison can be made to a “4th alarm assignment card” for a city like New York. There would be no water tower (truck would be equipped with ladder pipe and deluge set), no Rescue Company, the Chief Officers of such a department would consist of a Chief of Department and Assistant Chief, and therefore the usual features of a typical assignment one card for a large city would be lacking in such instances in this city for which answer was given. However, several essential features which should have been given were inadvertently omitted by the writer in the examination, such as making provision for companies to supply fuel. Answer to Question 3-4 received a rating of 50 per cent.

Questions 5 and 6—Fire occurs in a 4. 3. 2 and 1-story and basement ordinary brick building with an area of 20,000 square feet. The building extends through the block. The 4-sitory portion faces the north and is connected by the one 2-story portions to the 3-story portion which fronts on the street to the south.

Construction—Walls are brick, independent. Roof is composition on joists supported same as floors. Floors are double 1-inch boards on joists supported by unprotected steel “I” girders on unprotected cast iron columns. There are several open stairways from basement to first floor. There is one flight of stairs in 4-story portion, 1st to 3rd floors in metal lined wood and wood and glass hallways, also an open stairway in each floor and one flight in three story portion enclosed in lath and plaster hallways with wood sash doors to floors. Elevators in four-story section are in two brick shafts extending through roof and covered by thin glass in metal skylights, screened. Elevator openings to floors have tin-clad counter-balanced doors. There are four dumb-waiters in separate shafts of four-inch hollow tile, basement to first floor, with sub-standard metal covered doors to floors.

Occupancy—Basement: storage of groceries; ammonia refrigerating machines. brine cooling tank, cold storage rooms and heating plant.

First floor: retail market, restaurant and beauty shop.

Second floor: offices.

Third floor: storage of bedroom furniture wrapped in excelsior filled

Fire is said to have originated from unknown cause amongst groceries in rear of first floor. At time of arrival of department fire had complete control of second floor, and in 36 minutes had reached fifth alarm magnitude.

The damage consisted of practically the entire destruction of the fourstory portion. The roof and floors of this portion although not completely consumed by fire, fell to the first floor. The east anil west walls also gave way. The three-story portion of the damaged building received slight water and smoke damage.

Clive reasons for the intensity and rapid spread of this fire and for the collapse of portion of the building.

Answer to Questions 5 and 6

Cause for intensity and rapid spread of fire in this question appears to he open stairways and as fire started in rear of one-story portion rear of fire floor it was located practically in centre of the risk to permit spread in vertical as well as horizontal direction. The character of storage of furniture wrapped in excelsior would make an intense fire once involved. Unprotected steel and iron columns and girders when heated would also tend to collapse. There would also be extension through skylights on the one-story connection between the grocery store and the 4-story portion at rear, and with wind from southeast, dame would he carried against windows above root.

Attack of fire would probably he from S. K. side as tar as inside streams arc concerned at start of attack and this would limit fire ami collapse on this side.

The extension to the 4-story portion used for furniture storages, probably created such intense flame and to prevent further extension to other buildings attack must have been made from adjoining roofs and other points of vantage.

Buildings of this type of construction, when used for storage of excelsior wrapped furniture and similar material do not withstand intense fires which develop and involve them quickly and unless sprinkler protection is provided to limit fires within structure, and to check them in their incipience collapse results when floors are weakened by burning. Delayed alarm also was a material factor in extension and collapse.

Comment on Questions 5 and 6

The preceding questions (No. 5 and 6) referred to the same fire and asked for reasons for intensity and rapid spread and for collapse of portion of building. The answer given received a rating of 84 per cent.

(To be continued)