THE AUTOMOBILE COMBINATION WAGON; ITS ADAPTABILITY TO THE FIRE SERVICE; ITS EFFICIENCY AND ECONOMY.*
Mr. President and Gentlemen—It gives me great pleasure to give you my views on this topic so kindly assigned me by your board of directors. An honor, I assure you, much appreciated. The subject, in my estimation, is one of the most important that could be discussed at this convention, and having had considerable experience with auto fire apparatus I will give you the benefit of my experience and endeavor to give the subject the consideration it deserves. Firefighting or combating started years ago— first, with out old bucket brigades—and probably many of you here have responded to the call to man the brakes on the old hand engines. The inventor has been a busy man, and these in turn have been replaced by the modern steam engines (and our waterworks systems), and lastly conies the wonderful automobile fire apparatus. Lansing was one of the first cities in America to adopt the motor fire engine and chief’s auto and then the combination chemical, and since then many other cities have installed similar appliances.
In corresponding with the chiefs of these different cities using automobile apparatus I find they are all high in their praises and all state there is no question about the adaptability of this kind of firefighting apparatus to any department. I know this to be the case in my city—the autocombination wagon fits perfectly, and is adaptable in every case, any time, any place and in all kinds of weather.
On November 23, 1909, our city had a call for help from the village of Bath, Mich., ten and a half miles distant from Lansing. We responded with our auto fire engine, taking 1,500 feet of 2 1/2-inch hose and five firemen. This made a weight of 8,000 pounds. We made the run over extremely bad roads (slush, ice and snow) in twenty eight minutes. On our arrival we found three two-story buildings on fire. We dipped into a small swale about seven hundred feet distant, and in a short time we had the fire under control. Had we to depend on loading a steam engine on a railroad train the fire would surely have wiped out the village. We made the return trip in twenty-seven minutes. This to me clearly demonstrates the adaptability. In commenting upon the efficiency of the auto apparatus, I can give a few comparisons which I think will thoroughly convince you of its effectiveness. Suppose you had a fire call twenty-four blocks from your fire station (equipped with a motor combination wagon); also suppose another company (combination, horse-drawn) twelve blocks front the fire responds to this call. Imagine the autocombination going by the horse-drawn apparatus after they had traveled just six blocks, or half their distance, and then imagine a stream of water on the burning building and fire practically under control when the horse-drawn company arrived. This was an actual occurrence in our city, and I know of other cities that have had similar experiences, and I think this can be called effectiveness. You will hear the question, “Do the motors always start when an alarm comes in?” They certainly do. Lansing has to have her first failure of her motor apparatus to start, and with the exception of two accidents has never failed to get to the scene of action. Accidents, I assure you, may happen to auto apparatus just as well as to horse-drawn apparatus, but I do maintain that accidents to auto apparatus should not be as frequent as to horsedrawn apparatus. My main reason is the perfect control one has of auto apparatus, and with the reports I have received from cities using auto apparatus I am convinced to a certainty that the auto-combination wagon is most efficient. Time is essential in getting to the scene of the fire, and one would imagine this would he compensation enough for any municipality, but municipalities are looking for economies as well, and there is an economical feature to motor fire apparatus. I will give you a report as to cost of maintenance since the day our city installed motor apparatus.
The auto fire engine, built by the Webb Motor Fire Apparatus Company, has a 60-horsepower, six-cylinder motor (Olds), equipped with a rotary pump with a capacity of 650 gallons per minute (plug pressure), carrying 1,000 feet of hose, axes, tools, suction pipes, etc., placed in service December 12, 1908, and during the nineteen and a half months responded to 242 fire alarms, traveling 367 miles and to thirty-five exhibition and test runs traveling 69 miles; pumping at actual fires twenty-nine and a half hours and at exhibitions five hours and forty-five minutes. Cost to maintain (for gasoline, cylinder oil, grease, spark plugs, recharging storage batteries, etc.) was $77.80, or 14 cents a day; and the cost, inclusive of two accidents of $290.77, was 64 cents a day. The tires, notwithstanding the fact they have been in service nearly twenty months, show no material wear, never bad a blowout or puncture. The auto chemical (combination) wagon, placed in service November 22, 1909, was built by the Olds Motor Works and has a 60-horsepower, six-cylinder motor, with a chemical capacity of 120 gallons. It has responded to 141 fire alarms, traveling 226 miles, and to seven exhibition runs, traveling 20 miles, discharging 4,542 gallons of chemical. Cost of maintenance (for eight months), $34.17, or 14 cents a day. Tires on this auto are in excellent condition, never causing any trouble whatever. The chief’s car (Oldsmobile Special) has a 40horsepower four-cylinder motor and was placed in service December 12, 1908, and during the nineteen and a half months responded to 256 alarms and was used for all other business connected with the department (visiting sub-stations daily, inspections, etc.), traveling 4,475 miles. Cost of maintenance (for gasoline, recharging storage batteries, spark plugs, cylinder oil, tire repairs, etc.), $168.15, or 29 1/2 cents per day. Adding these three pieces for a period of nineteen and a half months would mean a total of $576.89. To accomplish the same work using horses you would require eight horses, which cost to maintain (for oats, hay, bedding, veterinary bills, harness repairing and shoeing) about $18 a month per horse, amounting in all to $2,806, or a saving to the city of $2,231.11 by using motor apparatus. We also save the salary of two drivers, one on the steam engine and one on the accompanying hose wagon, which would amount to approximately $2,730. Out of the eight horses mentioned you would lose one hv death, accident or unfit for service (costing $275), and this would nicely keep up your tire and repair bills. By summing all up we have a grand total in favor of the auto apparatus of $4,961.11. Think of a saving like this for a small city, and what it would amount to in your larger cities, and you cannot but agree with me that it is wonderfully economical. A word in regard to the purchasing of automobile fire apparatus. Select only such machines as have sufficient horsepower, not less than sixty for combination wagons and chemicals and not less than ninety for fire engines, or more if you can get it. The more horsepower you have the more efficient work your machine will accomplish. Also a word in regard to the cheffeurs who handle the auto apparatus. Pick out men who have had large experience. This is one of the most essential things, to have men of this kind. You cannot expect results by allowing a man to drive a car around the block and then say he is fit to drive auto fire apparatus, and I maintain he should be the best that money can hire.
*Papers read at the annual convention of the Intertationaal Association of Fire Engineers.
Our city is so well pleased with her auto apparatus that I can safely predict that we will have no horses in our department within three years. Three weeks ago our city contracted with the Webb Motor Fire Apparatus Company and the Olds Motor Works of our city for another auto fire engine, capacity of pump to be 900 gallons, motor to be a 1911 model, 90-horsepower, six-cylinder, 5 by 6, to be delivered October 15. With this new engine I am convinced we can deliver 900 gallons of water per minute (plug pressure), and this, it seems to me, is ample capacity for most any fire department.
In concluding my remarks, I firmly believe that auto apparatus will take the place of the horsedrawn apparatus, and when it becomes universally used that the enormous fire waste in the United States will be decreased materially. I wish at this time to thank the officers of this association, past and present, for favors conferred in the past, and especially the privilege of presenting this topic, in my opinion covering a subject of vast importance to the fire service of America.
Efficiency and Operation.
BY CHIEF J. E. BUCHANAN, WINNIPEG, MAN.
Fire protection and prevention is one of the important questions which no city should neglect. It originated from a demand for improved conditions—the need of improved protection against losses caused by fire. When confined and controlled fire is one of the most important elements in our civilization, furnishing power for manufactories and transportation, in fact it is an essential factor in everything which contributes to our comfort and the very existence of life; but it is an impossibility to keep it within its proper bounds. The efficiency of high pressure system is proved beyond a doubt, and before many years all cities will possess a plant for the extinguishing of fires. This does not mean for a moment that fire engines are a thing of the past, they are as valuable to fire protection now as ever and will continue as an auxiliary to high pressure, and with modern methods of handling high pressure streams make it possible to handle same with speed and accuracy, and in case of fire not requiring 3 1/2-inch hose they may be reduced to 2 1/2-inch, still working on high pressure system, giving streams of great solidity and force. In the case of the writer, 3 1/2-inch hose has been successfully operated from the height of a fivestory building with good effect, and also from stand-pipes up buildings to a height of seven or eight stories. The problem is solved for the proper handling of high pressure streams. Great care should be exercised owing to amount of water that it is possible to deliver through 2 1/2-inch hose reduced to 1 1/4-nozzle the damage to stock as a rule should be heavy.
It is better to be prepared for an emergency and never have it come than have it arise and not be prepared. We should always bear in mind the possibility of danger by fire, even considering distances which demonstrate them as such. The chief aim of all architects, from fire standpoint, should be: 1st, to avoid conditions which would favor the starting of fires. 2nd, to observe precautions which would prevent their spread and facilitate their extinguishment. Modern requirements have constructed our business blocks, story upon story, until they have arisen to such lofty heights that, in comparison, the wonders of the Old World are dwarfed into insignificance. The fire equipments of today are insufficient to successfully cope with constructions of such dizzy altitudes—hence the introduction of high pressure system, with its great force and quantity of water to prevent erious conflagrations in our prosperous cities. When we consider the enormous loss by fire yearly, the thought suggests how best to overcome this loss. To be successful in this direction rests, to a great degree, in the municipal councils, not only in establishing strenuous building acts, but in enforcement of the law; then, and then only, will we become masters of the world in industry and business.
Not every fire requires the flood of water that can be set in motion from the pumps only on giving orders from the officer in charge. The use of the high pressure system and its efficiency has been most successful, with the excellent engineering involvd in its design and construction, and in no case since the high pressure service has been used has a fire progressed beyond the building where it began. Much more could be said on the efficiency and operation of high pressure systems, but as you are all capable of judging the efficiency and necessity of plenty of water and good force for extinguishing of fires such as we have in our various cities, and which we find very difficult to overcome at times, owing to magnitude of same before alarm has been received at station.
Gentlemen, I desire to express my most profound appreciation of the honor you have conferred upon me by your most kind in vita tion to address you on this subject.
on motion, duly seconded, the papers were ordered printed in the proceedings, with a vote of thanks to the gentlemen preparing same.
League of American Municipalities.
The League of American Municipalities has elected Darius A. Brown, mayor of Kansas City. Mo., president of the organization. It is certainly an honorable position for which Mayor Brown has been selected, and it may be said that the gentleman is in every way qualified to fill the place with the dignity and ability for which it calls. Mayor Brown has duly qualified as a leading and most successful citizen of Kansas City, and he will further add to the fame of that place by his presidency of the league.
He was born November 3. 1869, in Jefferson County, Kansas. He has been of many vocations, namely, farm-boy, bootblack, newsboy, teamster, section hand, ball player, railroad clerk, muscian, lawyer, having graduated at Ann Arbor Law School in class of ’93. Mr. Brown came to Kansas City the same year of his graduation. He held the office of city attorney of Kansas City from 1898 to 1990, was deputy coroner for two years and official court reporter for five years. He was elected as a member of the lower house of the common council in 1908 and held that office one term, when he was elected mayor April 8, 1910 As mayor he has insisted upon a square deal for the people in their relations with the public service corporations and has demanded that the same rule of compliance with its contract obligations shall be enforced against the corporation as is enforced against the private individual. In spite of the pressure brought to bear by the advocates of the spoils system, he has compelled the carrying out of the civil service system in good faith, according to the letter and spirit of the city charter. Mayor Brown was elected president of the League of American Municipalities at St. Paul, Minn., August 26, 1910.
Burning of Exposition Building at Portland.
The fire which visited Portland, Ore., July 14, destroying ten buildings and damaging ten others at a loss of approximately $472,000, started in the Oregon Brush Company’s garage in the old exposition building, an immense frame structure nearly three stories in height and covering an area of about 200 by 400 feet. John Morgan, a plumber, was burned to death, and F. R. Price, a stableman, was fatally injured.
Within five minutes after the alarm was sounded the immense structure was a mass of flames, and the fire spread rapidly to adjoining buildings. Firemen and 150 bluejackets from the warships Yorktown and Marblehead, which were in the harbor, battled with the flames for four hours before they were finally brought under control.
So rapidly did the flames spread that the 196 horses in the stables of the United Carriage Company and the Fashion stables and twenty-five fine dogs of a dog fancier’s establishment were burned, and the entire contents of the building destroyed. There were also about 250 private rigs, 15 backs and 5 hearses in the building, together with $20,000 worth of theatrical furnishings belonging to the Baker Amusement Company, which were stored in the structure; 12 automobiles, skating rink fixtures, plumbing establishment and contents of several small shops and stores.
The flames spread to the handsome home of the Multnomah Athletic Club to the west, and this building was soon in ruins, little of the contents of this structure being saved. The new steel grandstand was also burned. The fire partially burned three residences just south of the club buildings, and the row of stores and rooming houses east, across Champan street, were badly scorched.
While the Multnomah Club buildings were burning the flames leaped across Washington street, north of the old exposition building, to a row of hotels, stores and apartment houses, and several frame and brick structures were totally destroyed, together with their contents. Practically the entire firefighting force of the city was concentrated against the fire, and the energies of the firemen were spent in preventing the flames from reaching a row of automobile garages on Alder street. In this the firemen were successful, and after four hours of fighting the flames were brought under control.
The firemen were badly handicapped in their work on account of the scarcity of water, due to the smallness of water mains in the vicinity of the fire. Two large cisterns, both of 20,000 gallons capacity, were available, and these supplied four engines, throwing a total of seven streams.
Since this fire the entire burned area has been placed within the fire limits, so that nothing but fireproof or semi-fireproof buildings can be erected in the district. Plans are progressing for erecting several fine buildings on the property. The burned territory covers narly seven blocks. The building were of wood and burned for nearly five hours. The fire’s origin has never been learned. The apparatus employed included one Amoskeag engine, nine American-LaFrance engines, two chemical engines, three laddr trucks and ten hose wagons. At times 23 streams were playing on the fire, l 1/2 to 3-inch nozzles being in use. At this point the streets arc 60 feet wide, and water mains 4, 6 and 10 inches, while the hydrants are 4 and 6 inches. The water supply is gravity and cisterns, and the pressure at the plugs was far from satisfactory. Eight hydrants and two cisterns were available. A conservative estimate of the loss places it at $472,000, with about $300,000 insurance.
Profitable Water Plant at Springfield.
Because of the economical manner in which the system has been managed the city of Springfield, Ohio, was able on July I to give a to per cent, reduction in rates and eliminate the minimum charge. The meter charge was also reduced from $15 to $10.
The receipts and expenses of operating the waterworks department for the last five years follows: Receipts 1905, $65,915.43; 1906. $69,-
796.53; 1907, $70,237.80; 1908, $77,739.93; 1909, $80,541.75; operating expenses, 1905, $25,339.87; 1906, $26,725.32: 1907, $27,636.74; 1908, $24,772.51; 1909, $22,451.84.
The original cost of the works was $916,666. It is pointed out that several things must he taken into consideration in getting at the real value of the plant. To do this the cost of furnishing water free to the public schools, city buildings, fire houses and other public buildings is estimated at $30,850. Figuring the taxes at $12,000 on the investment and deducting this from the free water served leaves the real value at $18,860. This sum added to the $80,000 revenue received annually makes a real revenue of $98,000 a year. The average cost of operating the plant is $25,000, which leaves a net income to the city of $73,000 a year. Figuring this on a 6 per cent, basis makes the total value of the plant $1,216,666, or $311,545.40 more than the works cost the city.
There are 7,800 services. These, estimating five persons to a service, means that the system supplies 39,000 people with pure water. At present there are 87 miles of waterworks mains. Other extensions are planned for this year and next to relieve conditions in several sections where there are many people desiring the city water. At the pumping plant, which is considered one of the most complete in Ohio, are three big pumps. One has a capacity of 10,000,000 gallons every twenty-four hours, another 7,500,000 and the third 5,000,000 gallons The fire pressure is most satisfactory to the state inspectors and has been favorably commented upon by them in their reports. The daily average pumping at the station is 5,000,000 gallons. Last year $15,000 was set aside out of the waterworks earnings for extensions, and $6,000 was appropriated this year for such purpose. Besides this, $43,000 was turned over to the sinking fund trustees. While there are still $345,000 worth of bonds outstanding against the waterworks department, yet the indications are that the earnings will be sufficient to pay off the debt due and have a good-sized balance for maintenance and extensions as well.