Supplementary Report on Pittsburgh
In a supplementary report on conditions in Pittsburgh, Pa., the National Board of Fire Underwriters, who issued a report on that city in June, 1909, extensive improvements made in the water and fire departments are referred to. The report says the capacity of the Aspinwall filter plant has been increased and additions to the equipment have increased the efficiency at the more important pumping stations; several of the old stations have been abandoned and superseded by two fullyequipped new fireproof stations, with improved arrangements in the method of supply, numerous force and supply mains from 16 to 60 inches in diameter have been laid, thereby increasing the supply to many sections of greater Pittsburgh; the large North Side reservoir has been completed and the policy of compulsory metering of all services has been entered upon, and the report states that these and other extensions and the work of general maintenance have resulted in increased economy. The report further says: In the fire department the more important improvements made since 1909 include an increase in the total fire force from 701 to 798, establishing 4 additional engine companies, 5 new hose companies and 5 more ladder companies, besides converting Chemical 1 into a hose company, and Hose 54 into an engine company; providing, out of a total of 128 pieces now in service, 39 pieces of motor-propelled fire apparatus, and increasing the number of pieces carrying chemical tanks from 16 to 41. Bids were opned the first of December for 2 firstsize and 6 second-size tractor-drawn steam engines, 5 engine tractors and 2 tractors for ladder trucks, and 9 automobiles for the district chiefs. Early in 1915 it is expected that a complete new running card will be put into effect, with fire alarm boxes renumbered in rotation and modern card systems installed at each fire station. The above improvements have increased the efficiency through motorization and added chemical service, The urgent need of important improvements in the fire alarm system has not been appreciated by the city government and the bureau of electricity has been handicapped through the lack of reasonable financial support. Except for a new set of batteries and the placing of the old scattered wires in okonite cable in the public safety building, no important changes have been made at the fire alarm headquarters. About 130 additional successive boxes, an increase of 18 ½ per cent., have been installed in connection with the old Pittsburgh system, with an increase of 22, or 8 ½ per cent., on the North Side; all boxes are now equipped with keys attached under glass guard. To the old Pittsburgh system 4 box, 1 gong and 2 joker circuits have been added since 1909; many of the box circuits are still heavily overloaded, one having a total of 45 boxes. Work was commenced and stopped by injunction, upon a combination city hall and county building, on the top floor of which it is planned to provide for new fire alarm headquarters. A cable laid across the river is being spliced so that all companies answering first and second alarms in the congested value district and the adjoining district of the North Side will soon receive automatically all alarms in both districts. Except for the passage of ordinances covering iron and steel, hollow block and terra cotta tile and concrete construction, no important changes have been made in the building laws since 1909. The chief inspector of the bureau of electricity states that new inside wiring and the enforcement of regulations for underground installation are under good control, but that the force is insufficient for satisfactory supervision of the old inside wiring.