Racine Department All Motorized
With the placing of a new motor service ladder truck in commission recently the Racine, Wis., fire department, under Chief Cape, is entirely motorized. This does away with every horse in use. It gives the city four motor companies ; two combination chemical and hose cars; two service hook and ladder trucks; one electrician’s car and one chief’s car, making a total of ten pieces in all. There are seven American La France machines; two Mitchells, and the chief’s L. P. C. auto. The total value of the entire equipment is about $47,000.
Racine is better equipped to fight fire than many cities of 50,000 population in the United States. The cost of the operation of the department with motor machines reduces the old systems greatly. It used to cost to maintain a team of horses $250 to $300 a year. The present rigs cost front $30 to $50 each a year for gasoline, oil, etc. At one time there were 16 horses in the department, and it is figured now that to operate a machine does not cost more than it did to shoe one horse.
Motorizing the department was started in 1911 and since that time it is figured that thousands of dollars’ worth of property have been saved by quick and efficient service. Very few heavy losses are reported nowadays, which fact should have a tendency to lower insurance rates. Fire Marshall Cape has been at the head of the department for many years and it was through his hard work that the department has been modernized and made one of the most efficient in the country.
The fire department of Melrose, Mass., is without a fire pumping engine and in case of a large fire would be obliged to call for outside aid. The old horse-drawn engine appears to have outlived its usefulness after 16 years of service and at a recent inspection W. E. Simm, of the boiler inspection department of the state police, condemned the boiler and withdrew the license. Should the engine be used without a license the operator would be liable to a fine of $100 for each time it was used.