Roanoke Fire Department Appreciated.
Chief James McFall, of Roanoke, Va., reports an act of appreciation of the services of his department which is such a practical nature as to be well worthy of imitation on the part of other places. In the spring of last year President L. E. Johnson, of the Norfolk and Western Railway corps asked him for the loan of a steamer to be used in clearing away a break in a culvert near Little Otter. The request was immediately complied with, and the engine, with an engineer and fireman, remained on the spot for eleven days. By way of showing his appreciation for this favor, President Johnson bought for the city’s fire department a first-size Continental engine and 2,000 ft. of hose, the only condition attached to the gift being that, in case of need, the engine should be got ready and sent to all points along the road—as Roanoke had hitherto done with one of its original engines. Now that the extra engine has been placed in service, there is no longer any ground for fearing the consequences of a large fire while the engine is out on the line. At the end of the last year there was pending an ordinance before the city council, authorising the appointment of an additional engineer and six hosemen, and another, authorising the construction of another fire station, for which a lot had been purchased. There were also needed at least 1,000 ft. of hose, a new 65-ft. aerial truck, with modern quick-raising ladders, sixty-four additional hydrants and some forty-three additional fire-alarm boxes. At the end of last year there were 390 hydrants, of which eighty-nine were private. During the past year the firealarm system was rebuilt by placing an 8-circuit repeater and a 10-circuit storage-battery switchboard, and all the wires in the business section were placed underground. Six additional fire-alarm boxes were installed, ten additional fire hydrants were set, and five 2-way, 4-in. barrel hydrants were replaced by a like number of 3-way, 6-in. hydrants with 4^-in. steamer connections. During the year there were five calls for assistance from outside the city, an engine and crew being sent on each occasion. The department answered 14S alarms for fires in 113 frame and sixteen brick buildings, besides nineteen other than buildings. Of these fires 141 were confined to the floor and 146 to the building in which they originated. only two getting away to adjoining buildings. Fifty-nine were extinguished by chemicals; twenty, by hydrant and four by engine streams; sixty-five were out when the department arrived. Sixteen fires did a damage of $100 and over. The value of the buildings at risk was $578,975. of contents, $258,660 —total, $837,635; insurance on buildings at risk, $339,530, on contents, $134,550—total, $474, 080; damage to buildings, $10,152.21, to contents, $7,834.24—total, $17,986.45; insurance loss, on buildings, $9,322.21, on contents, $7,509.24—total, $16,831.45; exposure-loss, $914.75. At these fires the department laid 16,750 ft. of hose; raised 395 ft. of ladder; used 1,653 gal. of chemicals. The permanent firefighting force of the department is as under: Chief; captains (one, also, superintendent of fire-alarm system!, 2; engineer; drivers, 4; hosemen, 4. The call force consists of ten men, paid $15 monthly. There are two fire stations, each of brick and each, 2-story. The apparatus is as follows: Steamers (first-size Continental—-N. & W. reserve—second-size American-La France, fourth-size American-La France; hose wagons, two combination chemical and one reserve ordinary), 3; truck (65-ft. Arrow, aerial, placed in service in October, 1891); hose (2 1/2-in., 6,500 ft.—3,500 ft. in reserve, chemical, 500 ft.), 7,000 ft. The fire-alarm system (Gamewell) has 51 street boxes, with 24,000 ft. of underground cable, 16 miles of overhead wire, 18 circuit repeater, 1-10 circuit storage-battery switch-board. There are ten horses in service and the city’s fire-area extends over 5 acres, on which are wood and brick, l-story to 3-story business buildings and many wooden l-story to 2-story dwellings, with wooden roofs. The water system is pumping from springs 1 1/2 mile distant from the city direct and to a storage reservoir, with a capacity of 2,000,000 gal.; fire-pressure, 90 lb.