The Baltimore Fireboat.
The Cataract is the name by which Baltimore’s fireboat is known. She has a crew of twelve all told and was put into commission in 1881. She is of about ioo-ton burden and burns about a ton of coal daily. Her maintenance costs the city about $1,200 a year—a sum which is saved many times over by the good work she does on the waterfront. The Cataract was built in Baltimore and has a speed of 15 miles an hour. Her equipment, including the force-pumps, is of the ordinary fireboat type. Since she has been in commission, she has been of considerable service, and in the great fire of 1904 was found invaluable. The hardest continuous work she was ever called upon to perform was at a cotton conflagration at Brown’s wharf soon after she was first put in commission. She was on duty there for nearly four days straight. The fire was nor really extinguished for four months, since it smouldered in the bales, in spite of the fact that these were often covered with ice on the outside. The one large recent dock fire at which her presence was not a great feature was the Union dock fire, about nine years ago. Then she was out of commission for trfling repairs. Her place was taken by a barge with a fire engine of the land variety on its deck. This proved an efficient substitute.