Racine Well Equipped
With the recent placing of a new motor service hook and ladder truck in commission at the station at Sixteenth street and Austin avenue, the Racine, Wis., fire department is entirely motorized. 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-LaFrance machines, two Mitchells, and the chief’s L. P. C. auto. The total value of this equipment is about $47,000. Racine is well equipped to fight fire. The cost of the operation of the department with motor machines reduces the old system greatly. It used to cost to maintain a team of horses $250 to $300 a year. The present apparatus costs from $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. Mo-, torizing the department began in 1911. Old-timers who have been in the city for sixty years marvel at the growth and improvement of the department. It was way back in 1843 when the first steps were taken to organize a fire company, and during that year there was secured an engine built by Russell Skinner, and it was a crank motion piston machine. The following year a hook and ladder company was organized, the membershipnumbering 40. A little later Fire Company No. 3 was organized, and that year a hook and ladder truck was built, the Pioneer No. 1, and it cost $100. During 1849 three engines were bought, the Racine, manufactured by L. Button & Co., and at the same time the city bargained for 500 feet of hose. All of these machines were hand engines and the entire fire department was made up of volunteers. The same year three engine houses were built. In 1867 the steamer “Gem of the Lakes” was bought. It was manufactured by H. C. Silsby, of Seneca Falls.