REPORT OF THE BOSTON FIRE COMMITTEE.
AFTER a tour of inspection in Chicago, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Detroit, and Milwaukee, the fire committee of the Boston city council has issued a voluminous report of the fire departments of those cities. Quite a large portion of the report is devoted to the consideration of the independent pipe line system—which the members highly recommend. The committee has done its duty faithfully and conscientiously, business and not pleasure having been its first consideration. In the report an eloquent tribute is paid to the excellence of the fire departments visited. Chicago is set down as being “second to none;” and Philadelphia as being of special excellence, its veterinary hospital being the finest in the country. With regard to Pittsburgh, the engine houses are described as models, generally speaking, and especially remarkable for the attractive appointments of the dormitories, not to mention their cost, which, compared to the Boston scale of prices, is remarkably low. The committee visited one house erected at the cost of $18,500, which could hardly have been duplicated in Boston for $40,000. The department has also a training school and veterinary hospital in process of erection, which is to be a model in equipment. In Chicago were found specially good accommodations for the treatment of sickhorses; but the most distinctive feature of the department and the most instructive to the committee was the standpipe system. In that city the law requires that all new buildings of over four stories shall be equipped with it. Pipes and ladders run from the second story floor to the roof, and on the exterior of structures at each story is an outlet and balcony which affords firemen a firm footing and an opportunity to work with advantagethe ladders and balconies also serving as fire escapes. Cleveland has a veterinarj hospital in which two men are employed besides the superintendent, who is a veterinary surgeon, and is paid $600 a year his duties including the examination of all horses purchased for the department—and a training school for horses. But the one distinctive feature of the fire department of that city the committee considered to be the assignment of two men, with the pay of engineers, to duty as fire wardens. They visit buildings and see that inflammable material is properly stored. They also investigate causes of fires, and, since the conviction of several incendiaries through their efforts, arson is less frequent in Cleveland. It also requires two years’apprenticeship as “cadets” before firemen can become permanent members of the department. First, there is a civil service test, and next, a rigorous medical examination by the medical examiner, who devotes several hours daily to department service, and is paid $900 per annum. One of the physical tests for cadets is to run 100 yards to and from a seventy-foot ladder and ascend and descend it within 120 seconds. The record is sixty-eight seconds. Detroit has also a veterinary hospital and training school for horses, of which the hospital can accommodate thirty at one time, the building being an old engine house. The training track is seven laps to the mile. The outcome of the tour of the committee will probably be the introduction of the pipe line system for drawing water for fire service from the harbor, and the bestowal of particular attention upon a new veterinary hospital and training school for horses— all of w’hich Fire Commissioner Russell strongly recommended in his report for 1895-96.