Scranton Fire Department.
Scranton, Pa., has an excellently equiped and thoroughly efficient fire department under Chief H. H. Ferber, who reports that during the past year the number of alarms turned in exceeded those of the preceding year by 41—being 351 as against 310. Of these, the loss, however, was less; 13 were to incendiary fires; 76, to fires of unknown origin, while 31 were false and for fires calling for second, third and general alarms. Dirty chimneys and defective flues caused 30 fires; lace curtains, 10; children playing with matches, 15; overheated stoves, including 6 oil stoves, stove pipes, ovens and furnaces, 36; spontaneous combustion, 6; rubbish, 21; electric lights and wires, 8; explosions of lamps and boilers, 8; lamps overturned, 5; carelessness with matches, 9; sparks, 13; pipes, cigars and cigarettes, 3— the last showing the Scranton smokers to be much more careful than the most of their brethren elsewhere. At these fires were laid 60,800 ft. of 2½-01. hose and 14,850 of chemical; 5,626 gal. of chemical were used; 2,991 ft. of ladder were raised; 549½ miles were traveled to and from tires; and 761 hours 36 minutes were spent in service. Fires took place in 197 wooden buildings and 67 brick or stone, and 38 came under the head of miscellaneous. Extra duty amounting to 1,092 hours and 56 minutes was performed in testing steamers and hose, inspecting theatres and other buildings and fire escapes, flood and repair work, pumping out cellars, etc. The amount of insurance at risk was as under buildings, $1,318,300; contents, $740,957—total, $2,059,275. The insurance loss was as follows: Buildings, $103,437.68; contents, $130,887.55—total, $234,325.23. The non-insured loss was as follows: Buildings, $365; contents, $2,102—total, $2,467. The above is a very good showing indeed and does the greatest credit to the department. The amount of good 2j4-in. cotton hose in service is 13,500 ft., of which was purchased last year 600 ft. of Paragon, 700 ft. Keystone cotton, from the Fabric Fire Hose company. During the year there were purchased from the American-La France Fire Engine company, of Elmira, N. Y., one first-class Metropolitan fire engine for engine company No. 4. The apparatus in service is as follows: One wagon for chief; 1 for assistant chief; 5 steam fire engines; 5 combination chemical and hose wagons; 2 chemical engines; 1 Hayes hook and ladder truck; 7 hose wagons; 2 hose reels; 4 supply wagons; 1 fuel wagon. In reserve are the following: Two steam fire engines (not fit for service) ; 2 hose reels (in bad condition). During the year there were contracted for 3 combination chemical and hose wagons. There were purchased 4 horses— making 52; 3 were turned over to the department of public works which were not capable to do fire duty at all. The manual force is: One superintendent; 1 assistant superintendent and clerk; 17 captains; 5 engineers; 23 drivers; 1 fillerman; 27 hosemen; 7 bunk men; 40 call men— making a total of 75 full paid men and 47 bunk and call men. The number and make of fire hydrants purchased during the year were as under: From R. D. Wood & Co.—Twenty 4-in. Mathews hydrants, 5 ft. long, 6-in. elbow, with 2 2)4-in. hose connections and 1 4-in. steamer-connection; 3 6-in. Mathews, 6 ft. long, 6-in. elbow’, with 2 2½-⅛ connections and 4-in. steamer-connection; Rensselaer Manufacturing Co.—Eight 4in. Corey hydrants, 5 ft. long, 6-in. elbow, with 2 2)4-in. hose-connection and 1 4-in. steamer-connection—total, 31 hydrants purchased; 2 on hand of January 1, 1907; 1 repaired and located—total, 34 on hand. The total number of hydrants set in the city is 872, as under: R. D. Wood & Co,, 384; Corey, 110; Eddy, 19; Ludlow, 153; private, 206. Chief Ferber makes the following recommendations to council: The department being short of men, there should be a full paid department by all means, as the bunk-and-class system is getting worse, especially since the fire gongs stopped sounding the alarms on first; an extra engineer, so that he could take charge when the regular engineer is off duly, and he could also be very useful, making the necessary repairs of engines and, also, to the apparatus; the installing of a company in the Seventeenth ward; also, that there be purchased a hook and ladder truck and placed with another hook and ladder company; and a water tower—this is quite necessary; a new life-net—the one the department now has was purchased fourteen years ago and-is now in very bad shape, m fact, it is very bad. The balance oi the apparatus is now iu a good condition, excepting the two reserve steamers now out of commission for the want of a new boiler and general overhauling. Chief Ferber calls attention once more to the much-needed improvements at the quarters of engine company No. 3—that is, the purchase of additional land so that he can cover his exercise wagon and also store the manure and take it away from the public highway; also, the station for chemical company No. 2 on Division street should be rebuilt. There should be passed certain laws which will give the bureau of fire the authority to inspect and examine any building or fire-escapes, especially where rubbish accumulates. Younger horses should be bought, as some of those in service are too old for proper service. The chief also calls attention once more to the extra hauling which the steamer teams are compelled to do. He would, therefore, recommend once apain that there be a man, team and wagon detailed from the bureau to do this extra work. The building where engine company No. 2 is stationed should he repaired and put in proper condition.