The following extracts are from the annual report of Superintendent]. B. Barrett, of the Chicago Fire Alarm Telegraph:

M. BENNER, Fire Marshal and Chief of Brigade:

This, my third annual report (the same being the fourteenth since the introduction of the Fire Alarm and Police Telegraph system), presents the condition and gives the precise information and operations of tne Fire Alarm Telegraph of Chicago, for the year ending Dec. 31, 1878:

Our Department at present his in operation—312 miles of wire, 3032 telegraph poles, 471 fire alarm boxes, 1100 jars of battery. 13 striking appara’us, 13 bells, 43 fire alarm gongs, 32 automatic register. (“Jokers ’ 15 police dials.

In my last annml report, your especial auention was called to the absolute necessity of procuring some suitable device that would overcome the loss of such valuable time in procuring a key to the alarm boxes, for the purpose of communicating an alarm of fire. After making examination, we concluded to adopt the device krown as the “ Tooker Keyless Door,” and located thirty of them in the business district of the city ; they have been so placed for seven months, and proved to be just what was required. The arrangement of these doors is such that any person can open the door of the box, and communicate with the Department. At the same time the opening of the door sounds a local alarm, so as to notify the immediate neighborhood of the fact that the fire alarm box is tampered with. I would therefore recommend that said door be placed on all boxes as soon as possible.

I renew my recommendation of last year, that the bells on Engine Houses Nos. 2. 9 and 12 be placed on substantial towers.

The rebuilding and refitting of the lines and machinery of our system, in the two preceding years, have shown conclusively that the system is in first-class condition ; at.d has given perfect satisfaction in receiving and transmitting alarms, and owing to the perfect manner in which the chief operator and his assistants have performed their du’ies, we have not a mistake or failure.

The Superintendent recommends that a fire alarm box be placed in a conspicuous position in the public schools, churches, colleges, theatres and public halls.

During the year we have received and transmitted 489 alarms of fires from our fire alarm boxes, and 165 still alarms were given on our “ Joker ” lines by apparatus receiving still alarms, and repeated to all apparatus in the Department trom the fire alarm office.

In the accompanying tables it shows that, during the year, 489 alarms of fire were given. The hours of 1 to 12, inclusive, P. M., furnishing 309 of them. The favorite hours for the fire fiend to make himt-elf known, were 6 P. M., 7 P. M., and 9 P. M., each contributing 33 alarms; 8 P. M., 32 alarms. ‘The smallest number occurred at 6 A. M., which during the year sent in only four alarms. The favorite month was July, 55 alarms ; the lowest, February, 31 alarms ; the average, 40K. 1 he day of the week which carries off the palm appears to be Wedesday,

with 85 alarms Sunday, the least number, 58. The boxes that were “ pulled,” (not always bv the police) the greatest number of times, were No. 288, located c rner Des Plaines and Randolph streets, and No. 431, corner Throop and Twelftn streets, each sending eight alarms. Many of course were not used at all.


The following is the report of Assistant Marshal Petrie, in charge of the repair shops:

M. Benner. Fire Marshal and Chief of Brigade :

I have the honor to make the following report, as the work performed by this branch of the service for the past fiscal year; also the cost of each apparatus since my last report, and the condition of the same up to date :

The brass foundry, started in connection with the repair shop, has proved very beneficial to the Department, thereby saving a great expense; 3740 pounds of casting were made in the same in the past year; there was also a great amount of work done in the same for the Fire Alarm Telegraph, in making Battery Supplies, which is not included in the above.

The following named apparatus received general repairs and have been rebuilt during the past year :

Propeller Engine No. 10 changed to horse Engine No. 14. New fire-box and flues

New fire-box and flues Nos. 19, 20, 22, 23 and 27.

Hose Carriages and Reels Nos. 7, 8, 13, 15, 18 and 23.

Hook and Ladder Trucks Nos. 2, 4 and 6.

Batallion Wagons rebuilt, 4.

All of which arc now in first-class condition and as good as new.

The following Engines are in very poor condition especially the boilers, which are in an unsafe condition and liable to give out at any time; and I would recommend that they be replaced as soon as possible by new ones : Nos. 2, 7. 16 and 20.

I would recommend that the following Engines be rebuilt: Nos 9. 13,15. 24 and old substitute Engines Nos. x and 8 ; and that the propeller Engines Nos. 1 17 be changed to horse Engines.

Hook and Ladder Trucks Nos. 1 and 3 also require a general overhauling. The Hose Carriages of Engine Companies Nos. 4,6, 9andi2should also be rebuilt, and those of Engine Companies Nos. 16 ard 26 should be replaced by new ones, as they have become old and worn out by long service.

Below you will find an itemized account of the cost of each apparatus for the past year.

In conclusion I wish to return my sincere thanks to yourself, the Committee on Fire and Water, and the chief officers and members of the Fire Department for the earnest support given to this branch of the Service for the past year.


Second Assistant Fire Marshal in charge of Repair Shop.

Expenses for Repairs to Machinery during the Year.

The following statement exhibits the expenses for repairs to the machinery of the Department for the past year, in comparison with that of the eight years previous :

† Including cost of rebuilding old Engines Nos. 5, 6, 12 and r8.

E’irst Assi-tant Marshal D. J. Sweenie, Inspector of the Department, reports 18 Engines in good condition, 7 fair and 4 poor ; Hook and Ladder Trucks, 5 good, 1 fair, 2 poor; two-wheel Hose Carts, 12 gojd, 5 fair, 4 poor; four wheel Hose Carriages, 7 good, 1 poor. The following shows the amount and condition of hose on hand .





From advance proofs of Fire Marshal Benner’s report of the condition of the Chicago Department on January 1, we make the following extracts. Want of space prevents our giving in this issue the reports of officers in charge of the fire alarm, repair shops, etc. They will appear in later issues of THE JOURNAL. Marshal Benner says:

We can extend congratulations to our citizens that we have been spared from serious loss by fire during the year. Although the number of fires have been greater during the past year than the number in 1876 or 1877, the loss has been much less. The tutal loss by fire during the past year was $306,317. The most destructive fire occurring during the month of February last by the burning of the bookbindery of Messrs Cameron, Amberg & Co., No. Lake Street, and the partal destruction of the buildings on either side, causing a loss of The Academy of Music, located on Ualstead street, ne~lr Madison, was also &sroved in the same month, causing a loss of $23,000. The decrease in the amount of loss by fire weattribute to the increased facilities for fire protection, and an improvement in the efficiency of this organization. In the aggregate the apparatus of the Department have responded 8 tire alarms, and 88 a1se alarms, requiring them to travel a distance of 6,994 3/4 miles, they have worked 977 hours, 45 minutes. while in service at fires; 167 fires, including still alarms, were disovered and given by the members of the force before the alum was given by telegraph signal.

I’he apparatus in quantity and in detail remains the same as last vear, except the addition of two new F’ire Engines from the manufactory of H. C. Silsby in exchange for one old Fire Engine, the city paying the sum of $5,000 from the appropriation out of last year in exchange. There has also been added one new Hook and Ladder Truck, one life-saving wagon and equipments, two new fourwheel Hose Carriages and four Concord wagons.

The F’ire Alarm System has worked admirably during the year. All alarms have been promptly given, and no interruptions have occurred to delay the department in response to the same. Our thanks are due the Superintendent, Mr. J, P. Barrett, and assistant, for the succesful management of this branch of the department. Your attention is particularly called to his suggestions and recommendations, knowing well the necessities of each, I can readily endorse the same.

The Water Department has made the following improvements, to wit.:

This amount being added to that in use at the commencement of the year, and deducting the small pipe taken up (replaced by larger sized), makes (a total of 4,30 miles nowin service; 128 double fire hydrants were established, making a total of 3130 now in use.

The Relief F’und, for pensioning disabled Policemen and F’tremen is no v in a prosperous condition. There are 153 members of this department who will be entitled to benefits from this source. There are now five pensioners of the Department on the roll who have received pensions during the year, and two members who have received temporary relief. The amount paid out as pensionsis $1,965.00 ; the amount paid out for temporary relief is, $90,00; total during the year, $2,055.00

Comparative statement showing the number of fires, losses, insurance, etc., for the

* The gieat tire not here included.

† The large fire included.

Nine months, including December 31, 1875.

Besides the regular duties devolving upon the officers of each company, they have accomplished the following important work during the year, to wit: Number of buildings inspected, 391; number of buildings re-inspected, 976; number of violations of the fire ordinance discovered, 132. Fourteen members, having passed the required examination, were promoted; 15 have resigned honorably; 2 resigned under charges; 14 were discharged for violations of the rules governing the force ; 2 were reduced to an inferior rank for cause; 5 candidates were discharged for inefficiency and misdemeanors while serving on probation; the names of 3 substitutes in the service were stricken from the list of appl.cants for inefficiency ; 29 appointments to membership have been made, and one member was placed on the retired list on account of disabilities received in the service. In the aggregate 78 days’ service rendered by members were forfeited for violation of the rules.

Before concluding I feel it my duty to call your attention to the following facts: In consequence of the embarrassed condition of our city finances at the commencement of the year, your honorable body saw fit to limit this department with an appropriation of $447,060, to maintain the same throughout the year, which was a reduction of $102,821.34 from my estimate for that period. Following this reduction, his honor the Mayor notified me to keep the expenses within 85 per cent, of the appropriation, the manner of making this retrenchment being left entirely to my judgment. That being the case I felt it my duty to first consider the interests of the tax-payers. I concluded not to disband any of the companies as suggested by some, but decided to reduce the number of men in the companies by discharging two and relieving thirty-one from duty, which was accordingly done on the 16th day of March last. By this reduction we have saved to the city the sum of $18,810, and by cutting off all improvements and by strict economy in the purchase of supplies, to reach the minimum, to re ain the balance of the effective force and apparatus, l found that it would still be necessary to reduce the salaries of the remaining force 5 per cent. By very strict economy and in many instances deprived the companies of many necessities, the amount expended was but $389,692.36. F’rom this amount should be deducted the sum of $11,318.70, which was paid from the appropriation of the previous year, making the actual amountehargable to the appropriation for the past year $378,374.66, or 82^ per cent of the amount appropriated.

As the expenses of this department are more or less considered about the time the annual appropriations are made, and for your information I present the following exhibit, showing the expenses of the department for former years in comparison with the number of companies and apparatuses maintained during each year, to-wit:

PROPOSED NEW PLAN OF WATER SUPPY FOR NEW YORK CITY, BY THE HOLLY SYSTEM OF DIRECT PRESSURE. [The heavy lines represent Mains of different, and the dots show the location of Hydrants.]

Computing the expenses of the Department for the past year, with the number of buildings within the city, it has cost but a trifle over three dollars per building for fire protection. The cost for fire protection per do1~ar of assessable property, amounting to $131,981,436, as per Comptroller’s report is three and one-third mills.



Estimate of the cost and expenses for the maintenance of the Fire Department during the fiscal year ending December 31, 1879, made by the Fire Marshal and submitted to the City Comptroller:

For Repair Shop.

New Material.

New Tools and Machincty.

Miscellaneous Repairs.

New Buildings and Apparatus.

In addition to the foregoing estimate, I recommend to his Honor the Mayor and Committee on Fire and Water the following improvements :

To organize a Life Swing Company with a force of eight men, to operate the same, together with a Chemicrl Engine.

The employment of a Fire Inspector ; also authority to detail members from this Department for duty at public places of amusement as a measure to prevent fires and accidents-VAlso, authority to allow the apparatus of the Department to be sent outside of the c ty limits when called upon in cases of emergency. To this last request his Honor gave his assent.

It was also suggested that all gas lamps located nearest the fire alarm boxes be furnished with red glass in order to direct any person wishing to give an alarm of fire at nighttime, to which his Honor readily assented, and proposed to see that the improvement was carried out at an early date.