THE FIRE DEPARTMENT OF MILWAUKEE
The Board of Fire and Police Commissioners of the city of Milwaukee, Wis., consists of Sherman Brown, chairman; Sylvester Kosczewski, Henry C. Fuldner, Otto H. Falk and William G. Thwaits. James D. Foley is secretary. The Committee on Public Welfare of the Board of Aldermen is Adam Meisenheimer, chairman, Fred. C. Fass, Byron A. Morgan, John Doerfler and George C. Campbell. The forty-fifth annual report of the Milwaukee fire department, for the year ending December 31, 1915, gives the following list of positions in the department: Chief Engineer, 1; First Assistant Chief Engineer, 1; Assistant Chief Engineers, 5; Secretary, 1; Assistant Secretary, 1; Stenographer, 1; Clerk, 1; Storekeeper, 1; Physician and Surgeon, 1; Veterinary Surgeon, 1; Inspectors, 4; Captains, 43; Lieutenants, 47; Pilots, 9; Engineers, 36; Assistant Eingineers, 27; Firemen, 10; Pipemen, Truckmen and Drivers, 345; Chief Operator, 1; Operators, 7; Superintendent of Machinery and Apparatus, 1; Machinists, 3; Foretnen, Blacksmith Shop, 1; Blacksmiths, 4; Painters, 3; Harnessmakers, 2; Hose Repairers, 1; Wagonmakers, 2; Members of Department Shop, 4; Total, 564. The Chief Engineer of the Department is Chief Thomas A. Clancy. Assistant Chief Engineers are: George M. Linkman, Lucas A. Van Toor, Lawrence A. Hanlon, Henry Kruse, John S. Smith, William J. Clancy. William Hanrahan is secretary. William J. Shields is assistant secretary, Henry G. Forth is clerk, Stephen J. Shea is the storekeeper, and Arthur F. Bendlin is stenographer. The superintendent of machinery and apparatus is William Striebel. The veterinary surgeon is Dr. John T. Unertl, and the physician and surgeon is Dr. James Cavaney.
Report of Chief Clancy.
In his report Chief Clancy says that it is his tenth annual report and the forty-fifth of the paid department, that there has been a decrease in the number of alarms as compared with the year 1914, the total being 2,150, as against 2,796. The actual working fires numbered 1,079. The total fire loss was $487,009.90, while in 1914 it amounted to $755,456.81, and in 1913 it amounted to $953,476.62, which shows a substantial decrease. The average loss per fire was $290. Under the supervision of the Bureau of Bridges and Public Buildings, new quarters for the crew of Fire Boat No. 15 were constructed at East Water Street Bridge and put in commission September 4, 1915, at a cost of $14,695.14. There was also erected a new house at 3916 Vliet Street, now known as Engine House No. 32, and put in commission November 4, 1915, with motordriven hose wagon and chemical, with Captain Edward McDermott and seven men. The building cost $17,025.24. Under tnc supervision of Captain Sebastian Brand the pipe Jine system was extended 860 feet, with 12-inch pipe in Florida Street, costing $3,312.37, and 870 feet with 8-inch pipe in Walnut Street, costing $2,246.89 Contracts were awarded for repairs to boilers and steam pipes of the following fire boats, in accordance with requirement of the government inspectors: Fire Boat No. 15. East Water Street Bridge, $736; work has been completed. Fire Boat No 17, Kinnickinnic River, $1,558. Fire Boat No. 23, 6th Street Viaduct, $710; the work on these two boats has not been completed. One combination motor-driven pumping engine and hose wagon contracted for during 1914 was received and put into service in Engine House No. 6, costing $9,350. Three combination hose and chemical wagons were contracted for, received, and put in service in Engine Houses Nos. 7, 18 and 32, costing $15,000. The department was increased in membership by one pilot, one engineer and twelve pipemen to comply with the government rules, which prohibit fire boat crews working longer than thirteen hours in any one day, except in emergency cases. In addition, one captain and four inspectors were appointed for fire prevention duty, such as investigating all complaints with reference to violations of the fire ordinances as well as the causes of fires, which has proven to be a very valuable auxiliary. In addition to the above, one captain, one lieutenant and six pipemen were provided for Engine Co. No 32. The office force was increased by an Assistant Secretary. The department was called on to mourn the loss of five of its members who died from natural causes during the year. Assistant Chief William Young and Privates James Butler, Elmer Landrum, George Poertner and Francis Torpey. One two-wheeled, one tank of 50-gallon capacity chemical engine was built and painted in the Department Shop, equipped with 400 feet of 1-inch hose and delivered for service in charge of a volunteer company on Jones Island. Under the head of recommendations Chief Clancy says: I again earnestly appeal and request that it be not lost sight of, that during the year 1908 there was purchased a site located on the southeast corner of Broadway and Martin Street for the purpose of having new quarters built for the housing of Engine Co. No. 1 and Truck Co. No. 1, and sincerely hope that immediate steps will be taken for the erection of a suitable building, as the present quarters for these companies which were built in 1872 are entirely inadequate to be used as engine house quarters. Also request that a building for department purposes be erected without delay on the site selected and purchased in 1913 for that purpose at Forest Home and 25th Avenues. The most urgent, earnest request and recommendation is that the department be brought up to the standard with all A-1 departments, by having the officials see that sufficient funds are forthcoming for the purpose of motorizing the equipment, as it has been conclusively shown that the saving in the upkeep will pay for itself within a very short time, and give the public better service, which fact should not be overlooked.
Causes of Alarms.
The causes of alarms were as follows: Acid, 1; boilers, 3; boiling over grease, etc., 43.; burning rubbish, 40; back fires of automobiles, 55; chimney fires, 92; carelessness with matches, 129; cigars and pipes, 37; children playing with matches or fire, 72; candles, 41; Christmas trees, 6; calls on account of coal fires, 130; cupolas, 5; defective chimneys, 24; defective furnaces, 17; defective fire places, 11; defective furnace and stove pipes, 41; escaping gas, 19; escaping smoke, 24; escaping oil, 34; explosions of oil, 7; electric wires in buildings, 21; electric wires on automobiles, 12; electric wires on po’es, etc., 7; electric motors and controllers, 12; electric flat irons, 13; false alarms, 43; fireworks. 9; forges, 3; friction, 3; films, 1; gas jets, 38; gas, gasoline and oil stoves, 48; grass fires, 8; hot ashes, 56; hot metal, 4; hot flat irons, 5; incendiary, known or supposed, 13; lamps and lanterns, 27; lightning, 15; miscellaneous calls, 62; outside of city limits, 25; oil rags and waste, 24; rekindling of fires, 6; spontaneous combustion, 46; stoves and ovens, 67; salamanders, 3; smoke houses, 9; sparks from locomotive smokestacks, etc., 66; sparks from matches, 25; steam pipes, 11; sparks from fires, 3; thawing pipes, 7; torches, 14; unknown, 229. During the year the time on duty at fires amounted to 2,554 hours and 54 minutes. The number of miles travelled was 10,708. The number of feet of ladders raised was 30,574; number of feet of hose laid was 414,275, and the number of feet of chemical hose laid was 145,450. The hose statement shows that on January 1, 1916. there were in service and reserve, 1-inch rubber hose, 9,050 feet; 2 1/2-inch cotton hose, 72,075 feet; 3 1/2-inch cotton hose. 19,815 feet; 4-inch cotton hose, 250 feet; 4 1/2-inch suction hose, 671 feet. There were 182 horses in the department on January 1, 1916. During 1915 there were sixteen horses purchased, forty were sold, and three died. The total expenses of the department were $769,415.07.
Inspections made by the fire fighting corps were as follows: Total number of buildings, brick, stone, etc., within fire limits, 7,421; frame, within fire limits, 23,204. Total number of buildings, brick, stone, etc., out of fire limits 3,658; frame, out of fire limits, 65,724. Total number of buildings in city, 100,007. Total number of buildings in city, brick, stone, etc., 11,079; frame, 88,928. Total number of inspections within fire limits, 122,500; out of fire limits, 138,764. Total number of defects found within fire limits, 4,889; out of fire limits, 1,772. Inspections made by the fire prevention corps: Total number of buildings inspected, 5,704; total number of defects found, 2,163. (Under the state law, buildings within the fire limits must be inspected at least four times per annum, or quarterly; buildings outside of the fire limits, at least twice a year, or semi-annually.) Theatres and public halls: All theatres are regularly inspected before each performance to ascertain the condition of the stage, fire apparatus and exits in each case, while other places of public assembly are given similar attention.