The Elevated Railroads.
Considerable speculation is indulged in as to what extent the elevated railroads in this city are likely to interfere with the Fire Service. These are iron structures occupying, at the height of the second stories, nearly the entire width of some of our principal business streets, while in the wider thoroughfares they occupy a considerable section of the middle of the thoroughfare. Some of the narrower streets thus obstructed are lined with business houses, where the contingency of a conflagration is ever threatening. Take Church street, for instance, where there are scores of wholesale houses, occupied by various branches of trade, where the buildings are loaded from cellar to attic with rich and costly, and also highly inflammable goods. Here the elevated road, if laid on the ground, would reach from curb to curb, and, being raised fifteen or twenty feet in air, leaves very scant space between it and the buildings on either side.
Should a fire occur in this street, along the lme ot the elevated road it .s difficult to see ow t e iren.en wou overcome the ohstruction which it presents. It would effectually prevent them from using their long ladders, and whether the road itself will afford them a footing for their shorter ones has not been demonstrated. It would be but a precarious footing at best, and, in the excitement attending a fire, many accidents to the men would be likely to result, from falling between the sleepers of the track. Again, the track presents such an obstruction that it would be next to impossible to direct a stream of water from the street against a burning building. As yet there has been no large fire along the line of any of these roads, so that the full extent of the obstruction has not been ascertained, but how soon a disastrous fire may occur in their vicinity no one can tell. That these roads are a great impediment to the successful working of the Firemen, no one can doubt; our safety lies in the admirable discipline and remarkable celerity of our Fire Department, in consequence of which a fire is not permitted to make much headway.
A correspondent of one of the daily papers some time since suggested that the Fite Commissioners should have Hook and Ladder apparatus constructed upon the elevated railroads, and kept in readiness to do service along the lines. He suggested that fire stations should be established on sidings, where such apparatus as might be necessary could be kept, ready to answer any signal sent them. Something of this kind may yet be necessary. The “ Hayes ” ladders, which work on a turn-table, might be mounted on a car, run to the scene of a fire, the car securely fastened to the track, and the ladder elevated therefrom. And why could not one of our self-propelling Steamers be adapted to service on the elevated railroads? In fact, why could not a self-propelling Steamer furnish also the motive power lor running a Hook and Ladder Truck? Perhaps we shall come to something of this kind yet.