THE DAVENPORT FIRE SERVICE
Chief Peter Denger of Davenport, Ia., has submitted his sixth annual report and the thirty-fourth annual report of the paid fire department, for the fiscal year ending March 31st, 1916, the report having been compiled by Captain William F. Gillooley, the department secretary. A feature added to the report this year is that dealing with wooden shingle roofs as a fire hazard. The report gives the following facts and figures: Officers of the department are: Peter Denger, chief; James Quinn, first assistant chief; Gustave Alex, second assistant chief; James Moses, third assistant chief; Captain William F. Gillooley, department secretary. At present there are forty-five men in nine companies, and the companies are divided as follows: Seven hose companies, 1 aerial truck company, 1 combination hose and ladder company.
The department apparatus consists of:
The three pieces of motor (Seagrave) fire apparatus covered 638 miles, to and from fires, at a cost of 12 cents per mile for each piece of motor apparatus. The chief’s (Marmon) motor car covered 725.1 miles to and from fires during the year, at a cost of .03 cents per mile. The three Ford motor fire cars were purchased during the latter part of the year, as an experiment. Two of these Ford cars are in service at Sation No. 3, in the residence district on the hill, and were put in service there on January 20, 1916. Each car is equipped with one 20-foot extension ladder, one 12-foot roof ladder, and other equipment, and carries 450 feet of fire hose. The other Ford car, used by first assistant chief, was put in service at Station No. 1, on March 1. 1916, and is equipped with a 30-gallon Holloway chemical tank, ladders and other equipment. The three Ford cars covered 93.1 miles to and from fires, in two months and eleven days. Plans are now under way to motorize the entire fire department immediately, and therefore 1 combination hose and 1,000-gallon pumping engine motor car, and 4 combination hose and chemical motor cars are soon to replace the horse-drawn apparatus in service at present at Hose Stations Nos. 1, 5, 6, 7 and Hose Company 2 at Central Station.
The cost of keeping horses the past year was $2,042.82, or about $170.24 for each horse. The horse-drawn apparatus of the five hose companies covered 546 1/4 miles to and from fires during the year, at a cost of 65 cents per mile for each team of horses, or $3.90 per mile for all, 12 horses. One horse was purchased early in the year to replace an old horse in service, but no more horses will be purchased.
The fire stations of this department are in first class condition, with the exception of Central Station and Station No. 7, which both need new roofs, and some painting and varnishing on interiors of these two stations and Station No. 5 is necessary.
Fire Hose, Ladders and Extinguishers.
There was purchased during the year, 1,000 feet of 2 1/2-inch fire hose, and I will recommend that 2,000 feet to 3,000 feet of fire hose be purchased this year, to replace old and unserviceable fire hose now in service in this department. The total feet of fire hose in service is 14,850 feet. The total feet of ladders in service is 739 feet. There are two pompier ladders, 32 feet. A total of 34 fire extinguishers is carried, having a capacity of 175 1/4 gallons.
During the year, 4.83 miles of water mains were laid, making a total of 98.14 miles of water mains in this city at the present time. Forty-seven new fire hydrants were put in where needed during the year, making a total of 925 fire hydrants in service in this city at present. Pumping capacity is 49,000,000 gallons of water per day. The Davenport Water Company has given excellent service during the year, and the pressure has been good and amply sufficient at all times.
Fire Alarm Telegraph System.
Our fire alarm (Gamewell) system consists of a 12-circuit switchboard, a 10-circuit repeater, 216 cells of storage battery, and about 100 miles of wires, with all wires in the business district underground. There are 84 fire alarm boxes in this city’s 9 1/2 square miles of territory. The old alarm boxes are to be overhauled and a large number of new boxes are to be installed this year. This system is carefully looked after by City Electrician F. E. Downing and assistants, and H. J. Brewbaker, a lineman from the fire force.
Two telephone alarm operators under the direction of the city electrician, working in two shifts of twelve hours each, transmit all telephone alarms or calls to all fire stations, and they are received by all stations at one and the same time. This city with its 9½ square miles of territory is covered by over 10,000 telephones of the Iowa Telephone Company of this city.
Extra fire escapes were ordered installed on schools, hospitals and other public buildings in this city, where needed, during the year, and nearly every building requiring fire escapes have installed same. At present over 450 fire escapes are installed on buildings in this city.
Over two thousand inspections of buildings were made by officers and members of the fire department during the year, and clean-up orders were generally and cheerfully obeyed. On very few occasions were drastic measures necessary to bring the guilty persons or parties to obey the proper laws and ordinances relating to fire prevention and the safeguarding of the lives and property of our citizens. Buildings are inspected daily, every morning, by officers and members of the fire department, and especial care and attention are given to theaters, assembly halls and places where large numbers of people assemble or congregate, and also to large factory and business buildings, particularly to basements and cellars of such buildings. Triplicate inspection report blanks are carefully filled out, after a thorough inspection covering every phase of the situation from a fire prevention standpoint; one copy is turned into the chief’s office, one copy is kept by the fireman making the inspection, and the third copy is delivered by the chief to the building commissioner or inspector, and the dates of inspection and filing of same noted on each copy, and the building commissioner and inspector then notifies both the owner and tenant of said buildings or premises of the defects or conditions found therein, and he gives them a certain number of days in which to have the defects removed or conditions remedied after he reinspects same, and if the owner or tenant fails to remove defects or remedy conditions, the building commissioner has them arrested for violations of the proper laws and ordinances, or condemns said buildings or premises. This plan, the report says, is giving excellent results.
During the year, from March 31, 1915, to April 1, 1916, the fire department responded to 403 alarms or calls, and divided as follows: Day alarms, 6 a. m. to 6 p. m., 261; night alarms, 6 p. m. to 6 a. m., 142; total alarms responded to during year, 403; total atarms responded to the previous year, 4i7; total alarms responded to this year, 403; decrease of alarms over last year, 14; total fires last year, 390; total fires this year, 375; decrease of fires over last year, 15, The total number of false alarms received during the year was 11. The per cent, of false alarms to total alarms received was .02¾ per cent. Miles traveled to and from fires, 2,002.7; feet of fire hose laid at fires, 67,650; feet of ladders raised at fires, 4,800; gallons of chemicals used at fires, 1,075; hours worked at fires, 755½. Fires were put out with the following: Put out with chemicals, 121; put out with hose lines, 56; put out with both chemicals and hose lines, 41; put out with buckets of water, brooms and other means, 89; nothing used, 68; total fires for year, 375.
The total loss by fire during the year was $192,267.67, of which $61,469.23 was on buildings, and $130,798.34 was on contents. Fire loss last year, $295,349.33; fire loss this year, $192,267.57; decreased loss this year over last year, $103,081.76. The total valuation of property where fire occurred was $1,283,630, of which $781,425 was on buildings, and $502,205 was on contents. Insured losses: On buildings, $60,214.23; on contents, $129,681.79; total, $189,896.02. Uninsured losses: On buildings, $1,255; on contents, $1,116.55; total, $2,371.55. Loss on buildings, $61,489.23; loss on contents, $130,798.34; total fire loss for year, $192,267.57; average loss per fire, $512.71; per cent, of loss to insurance, .23 1/4 per cent.; per cent of loss to valuation, .15 per cent.; per capita loss, $3.84. Exposure losses: On building, where fire did not start, $2,944.85; on contents, where fire did not start, $1,335.64; total, $4,280.49. Loss on buildings and contents where fire started, $187,987.06; fires in frame buildings, 192; fires in brick buildings, 79; fires in rock or concrete buildings, 4; total fires in buildings, 270; fires, other than in buildings, 100; total fires, 975. Fires confined to building where fire started, 265; fires extending beyond building where fire started, 10; total building fires, 275. Fires confined to floor where fire originated, 240; fires extending beyond floor where fire started, 25; total fires in buildings, 275. Per cent, of fires confined to building where fire started, .96 1/2 per cent.; fires confined to floor where fire started, .87 1/4 per cent.; fires confined to place of origin, .97 per cent.
Causes of Fires.
One hundred and twenty-seven fires or 24 per cent, of total fires were due to chimneys; 50 fires, or 13 1/2 per cent, of total fires were due to children and matches; 25 fires, or 9 1/4 per cent, of total fires were due to grass and rubbish; 305 fires, or 80 per cent, of total fires were due to carelessness. There was an average of one alarm for every 120 citizens; there was an average of one fire for every 129 citizens.
Roof Fires, Wooden Shingles as a Fire Hazard.
Under this heading the report says: Roof fires caused from sparks from chimneys, 75; roof fires caused from chimneys burning out, 41; roof fires from defective chimneys, 4; roof fires from overheated stove pipes, 3; roof fires from sparks from railroad engines, 2; roof fires from sparks from bonfires, 4; roof fires from exposure from other fires, 10; roof fires total from above causes, 139; roof fires from starting in attics, 24; total wooden shingle roof fires, as per above, 163; total fires in frame buildings, 192; per cent, of wooden shingle roof fires to fires in frame buildings, 85 per cent.; total fires in dwellings, barns and sheds, 200; fires caused because of wooden shingle roofs, above 7 causes, 139; per cent, of wooden shingle roof fires to total fires in dwellings, barns and sheds, 69½ per cent.; total number of fires in all buildings, 275; fires caused on account of wooden shingle roofs, 139; per cent, of fires caused on account of wooden shingle roofs compared to total number of fires in all buildings, 50 1/2 per cent.
Orders Drawn and Department Expenses.
The total amount of orders drawn during the year came to $64,994.84. The balance in the fire fund on April 1, 1916, was $5.16. The appropriation for fire fund for the year ending March 31, 1916, was $65,000. The total valuation of the fire department property is given as $183,700.
Chief Denger says under the heading of recommendations: I recommend that 2,500 feet or 3,000 feet of 2½-inch fire hose be purchased for this department this year, to replace old and unserviceable hose now in use. I recommend that a suitable drill tower be erected at Central Fire Station for the purpose of drilling the firemen, when weather permits, especially for drilling and training the new members of the department, for climbing, improving their wind, learning how to handle the apparatus and the tools and equipment. It is especially needed for new or prospective members of the fire department, or men who are eligible to try-out for positions on this department. I recommend that two new pompier ladders, two life belts, and one life-saving gun, for use in shooting life-lines to roofs, towers, or windows of high buildings, in case of need, be purchased as soon as possible this year. In my recommendations last year, I asked for a new fire station on the hill, in the residence district, and during the year past, a handsome new station was built at 326 East Locust street, and now occupied by Truck Company No. 2 and Hose Company No. 3, and I have no further recommendations as to new fire stations at present time. I have no recommendations to make in regard to more motor fire apparatus or more firemen on the department, as I am pleased to announce that plans are completed for adding 10 more men to our department, and contracts have been made for to motorize the entire apparatus of this department, thereby adding 1 combination 1,000-gallon motor pumping engine and hose car, 1 combination chemical and hose motor car, equipped with turret pipe and 3 combination hose and chemical motor cars to replace the 5 pieces of horse-drawn apparatus now in service, so that we will be exceptionally well fixed in regard to motor apparatus, putting us in Class 2, insurance rating, and reducing insurance rates in this city, for which the mayor, fire committee and city council are to be congratulated for their progressiveness and wisdom in securing these needed improvements for a bigger and a better fire department for a bigger and a Greater Davenport.