STATIONARY ENGINES FOR FIRES.
CHIEF BONNER, in view of the difficulties which attended the work of the firemen at the recent fire in Nassau street and some late discouraging experiences on the part of the department in coping with flames in high buildings, has suggested that stationary engines, to be worked either by steam or electricity, might be placed in parts of the city where the greatest danger exists, which could be operated by electriity. These engines, he claims, could be made to give great power, and there would be no delay in getting them to work. They would, of course, be only auxiliary to the other engines, and might themselves be cut off by surrounding flames, in which case the ordinary engines would have to be resorted to. The power would be supplied by the city and adequate connection with the water mains would always be afforded. Chief Bonner says:
We have reached the limit of weight in our engines, and they are not powerful enough to raise the streams of water to the tops of the big buildings. If we make the engines bigger, we cannot haul them about with facility—indeed, we are hampered as it is now. * * * * Our narrow streets and other difficulties which we have thrown in _>ur way make some new aid indispensable. My plan would be to have department men supervise the stationary engines and keep them always in readiness.
Two prominent insurance men throw cold water upon the scheme. One says :
No system could take the place of our present engines. Engines can be brought to present hydrants as readily and as quickly as any electric pumps could be. Of course, if we had a system of pipes laid through the city and large stationary pumps at the source of supply, it might be posble to furnish water more abundantly and more speedily. But I see nothing practical or hopeful in the suggestion.
Another, Superintendent William A. Anderson, of the survey bureau of the New York board of fire underwriters, says :
I think the scheme is impracticable. In the first place, where would we put the pumps? Then, the attendant cost of the pumps, once stationed, would overbalance the gain in efficiency. They would require daily care, and displace only such engines as are called out by the first alarm.
President F. C. Moore, of the Continental, does not quite understand the suggestion, which, he thinks,
apparently contemplates having pumping stations distributed throughout the city. If so, they could be run more economically by steam than by electricity. A separate system for fire extinguishing purposes would be required, and, if this were installed, it would be more economical to utilize our fireboats for pressure, as recommended by Chief Bonner.