THE FIRE DEPARTMENT OF DENVER, COLO.
The fire department of Denver, Colo., under the skilful administration of Fire Commissioner D. A. Barton and the immediate command of Chief Terry F. Owens, is reckoned by insurance companies and other competent and unprejudiced judges as one of the best in the United States as regards administration, organisation, discipline, equipment and firefighting capacity, and this reputation is amply borne out by the city’s low percentage in the way of loss and the rarity of a fire turning into a conflagration.
Chief Owens is well known as well to fire chiefs as to all who are interested in fire protection as a man eminently fit to fill his responsible position. He is popular with his subordinates and enjoys the esteem and confidence of the firemen, both on account of his strict impartiality in all his dealings with them and because of his qualities as a leader, one of which is conspicuous, his never expecting any of them to do dangerous work or take any chances which he himself would not face. He is a valued member of the International Association of Fire Engineers, and a constant and active attendant at its conventions.
Immediately under him as his staff are the following five assistant chiefs:
First Assistant, John Dulmage;
Second Assistant, R. C. Davidson;
Third Assistant, J. F. Hcaly;
Fourth Assistant, J. J. Moses;
Fifth Assistant. Patrick Boyne.
Each one of these is fully up to the mark, and it may safely be affirmed that nowhere can be found a more intelligent, capable or braver set of officers and men than those who compose the Denver fire department, all of whom are bright and shining examples of the excellence of civil service when its regulations are rightly administered by men of commonsense.
Among these, besides the ordinary officers and members of the rank and file, are to be reckoned the operating or signal board men—the operators of the Gamewell Fire Alarm Telegraph system, whose skill and fidelity to duty are equaled by the linemen, some of whom are present at every big fire, ready for action in case of emergency. The fire wardens form another set of employes selected from the ranks of the department. These are five in number, and are under the command of Chief Warden Cooper, who ranks as a captain. Their duties are those of inspectors of all yards and inclosed places, and to cause the removal of all breaches of the law in the way of accumulations of rubbish and inflammable matter, the construction and facilities of exit of theatres, places of assembly, and the like and fire escapes and safety devices. They must also investigate the causes of fires and report thereon. That they do not shirk their work is showm from the fact that during 1008 they made 6,800 inspections and sent out 4,000 written notices. Exclusive of the officers and special men the Denver fire department numbers 109 men, all selected under civil service laws and without any regard to politics or any other influence.
The equipment of the department is very complete and in every respect up-to-date. It includes the following: Steamers in service, 9; trucks in service, 4, in reserve, 1—5; chemical engines—in reserve—2 ; hose wagons—in service—17, in reserve, 1—18; chief’s auto; 1-horse buggies for assistant chiefs—in service, 4—in reserve, 1—5; water tower; combination automobile chemical and hose wagon; hose, about to,050 ft., including 7,700 just condemned; horses in service, 81. There are now seventeen engine and firehouses maintained by tkhe city, and two new enginehouses are planned for this spring to replace old buildings. A type of one of the new firehouses—that of company No. 17, at West Thirty-eighth avenue and Osceola street, accompanies this article. A drill tower 74 ft. high is to be constructed to the rear ofthe city hall this spring, on which the men will be given practice work in scaling ladders and in rescue-work.
On the abundant water supply at Denver, there is no need to enlarge. So far as concerns fire protection, it may be noticed that there are set 2,677 hydrants rented by the city and always ready for service, and 605 more hydrants are owned by the city—making a total of 3,282. The fire pressure is from 80 to 120 lb.
As to what was done in 1908 the annual report of the department shows that 1,234 alarms were turned in—83 being false. The total distance covered by all apparatus in answering calls was 79,937 blocks. The total of hose lines laid was 353,690 feet. The losses by fire amounted to $512,593.49, with a total of $6,391,380 in insurance on buildings and contents.