THE FIRE DEPARTMENTS.
The city council of Pittsburgh, Pa., has passed the ordinance providing for a fire boat, water tower, additional men and apparatus for the fire bureau, and the order providing for a chief engineer and four assistants instead of a superintendent and assistants. Another forward move. At latest accounts no one had been appointed to succeed Chief Evans, who recently resigned, as superintendent of the bureau of fire, and the salary doesn’t seem to tempt the men who have been named as most likely to have the place offered to them. It is to be hoped that whoever it may be he will be someone who can take in and appreciate the lessons in fire fighting of the past quarter of a century.
Philadelphia’s fire loss for the first six months of 1891 is as great as for the whole preceding year. The loss in 1890 reached $1,442,943, while for the six months of 1891 ending June 30 the tabulated loss was $1,395,837. As in 1890 the fires of the first half year were little more than one-third of the whole, the prospects for 1891 are a trifle gloomy.
The St. Louis Hotel at Duluth, Minn., gave the fire department of that city a tough fight early on Tuesday morning. A fire broke out in an upper story. It is supposed that it was caused by the blowing of a curtain by a draft through an open window against a gas light. There was considerable delay in giving the alarm, which allowed the fire to gain great headway, and the new portion of the building was completely gutted, while adjacent property was also somewhat damaged. The losses are placed at about $150,000.
A deliberate attempt was made early on Tuesday morning to burn tlic Prague studio building, at Broadway and Fortyfourth street, New York. A passer-by saw smoke coming from an upper window and gave an alarm ; the fire department put out the blaze after some damage had been done, and it was then found that piles ol oil-soaked wood and shavings had been disposed in convenient places and the stairways sprinkled with oil. Here is a chance for New York’s fire marshal to make an important catch. The building was occupied almost exclusively try artists, and the object of the attempt is a mystery, the explanation of which should be promptly made.
Montreal had a hot fire on Monday night, and it bid fair to become a conflagration, but Chief Benoit and his men succeeded, after long and hard work in a high wind, in stopping its spread. As it was, several lumber yards and manufactories and a number of small stores and dwellings were consumed. According to the latest reports the total losses are only about $75,000. It was at first thought that property of a value of hundreds of thousands of dollars was doomed, and the actual result is held to be highly creditable to the department.
Brown S. Flanders has resumed his old position as superintendent of the fire alarm service at Boston, Mass. The department for the inspection of wires has been abolished, and the control of the wires again given to the fire commissioners. This action has been greeted with general satisfaction in Boston, and is eminently sensible.
Chief Edward Hughes of the Louisville Fire Department is to have his hands materially strengthened before long by the addition of five new companies to his force. The fire department will then have in active service fourteen steamers, one aerial truck, one water tower and four hook and ladder companies. This, with the salvage corps, will furnish a very effective fire protective service.
The account given in a recent issue of FIRF. AND WATER of an accident to Chemical Engine No. 6 of the Chicago Fire Department, was, it now appears, greatly exaggerated. Our correspondent writes us that the facts of the case were, as he afterwards ascertained, that the thread of the cap over the acid receptacle had become so worn by constant use in the department that when the engine was inverted the cap was blown out and the contents discharged into the street. The machine was not otherwise damaged.
The town of Stillwater, Kan., is reported (mind, we don’t vouch for the report) to have a decidedly novel system of water supply for fire service. Each business man, it is stated, keeps a barrel of water in front of his store, which is so arranged that the bung can be easily knocked out, and in case of fire the barrels can soon be centered in one place. At a fire there recently they w ere successful in confining the fire to one place, in great part, it is said, owing to this plan. This may be all very true, but one can’t help thinking that, under the circumstances, a good double tank chemical engine would be something of an improvement upon this arrangement in the line of a medium (or fire protection.
There is no fire department at Darien, Conn. The other night a fire, thought to have been purposely set by someone, started in the rear of a grocery and feed store, and when it took a notion to go out left two buildings in ashes and several others damaged. Of the losses, which amounted to about $25,000, something like one-half will be paid by the insurance companies. The rest must be borne by the owners of the cinders, who will now have leisure to calculate for just how much of this sum an efficient fire company could have been maintained.
The fire losses at Louisville, Ky., for the first six months of 1891 were $121,686, against, for the same period iast year, $135,873. Major Hughes, at any rate, has no reason to complain of the way the fates have treated him.
Fire Marshal Lewis of Brooklyn is either more energetic or more fortunate than some of his brother officials. At any rate he has bagged another firebug. Seventeen-year-old Josephine Moehrhoff, who, with her father, was arrested last Sunday on suspicion of arson, after the house in which they lived at No. 106 Starr street had been discovered to be on fire on four distinct occasions, lias confessed that she set fire to the house six times on Sunday, between three o’clock in the afternoon and eight o’clock in the evening. “ I poured kerosene oil over the floor,” she said, ” and also in other places and set fire to it. No one was present while I did it and no one told me to do it. I did it because I love a fire and like to see it blaze. I never did it before, but it came suddenly into my head to do it.” It is stated that Mr. Lewis believes that the girl is insane. Very well, if she is a pyromanic lock her up and keep her from doing more harm. But with the Miller case in mind it strikes us that there is a little too much pyromania manifesting itself in Brooklyn just about this time, and that sound punishment administered in a few instances might work a change. Miller, who is a grown man, goes to the reformatory. If his mind was really unbalanced he should have been sent to a lunatic asylum to be kept until he was cured of his propensity for burning tenement houses.
The Boston Fire Commissioners have been making their annual inspection of the fire department of that city and are reported to have found things generally in satisfactory condition as far as houses and apparatus go, while the appearance of the men is highly praised.
The board of fire commissioners of Boston last week voted $1805.65 from the firemen’s relief fund to cover needs for the preceding five weeks. i bis is the largest single draft drawn, excepting during the famous ” La Grippe” season of two years ago, since the fund was started.
At a recent meeting of the veteran firemen of Fairhaven, Mass., it was decided to disband and sell the property of the association.
It was rather an amusing sight last Sunday morning to see Driver Calclen, of truck I, responding to a call from box 24. with one side of his face shaved, and the other side covered with lather.—Boston Democrat, July 12.
We are indebted to Chief I). J. Swente of the Chicago Fire Department for a copy of his report for the year 1890.
The firemen of Peoria, III., have been much hindered in their work at recent fires by bursting hose. Over 800 feet are reported as having been rendered useless at one fire. The Transcript says that fully 5000 feet of new hose should be purchased.
The Lynn (Mass.) Fire Department has just had added to its equipments 600 feet of new hose, 14 play pipes, 4 shutoff nozzles, besides axes, wire cutters, etc. The department consists of 165 volunteers, with 2 steamers, I hook and ladder truck, 5 hose carts, and 3800 feet of hose.
The fire losses in the United States for the first six months of 1891 are estimated at $65,396,000, against, (or the same period in 1890, $38,137,000.
In the matter of quick hitching in the Boston F ire Department. Company No. 1 of the Boston Protective Department Stands far ahead. The pride ol the “ Cove,” No. 7, Capt. Marlin, and No. 26, Capt. Willett, are the quickest of engine companies, while No. 1 of the truck companies is at the head of that branch of the service. — Boston Globe.
A fire alarm gong is to lie placed in the rooms of the Writers’ Club at Troy, N. V., to notify any reporters, who may bet taking their ease there, of an outbreak of fire.
Savs The Troy (X. Y.) Observer: ’’ The question of organizing a truck company downtown is again being agitated by the members of the fire board, but this thing has been talked of by them more or less for the past ten years. A truck is something that is much needed, as the residents in the lower section are entitled to better fire protection. What the young men in South Troy should do is to organize a company and ask the fire board for recognition, which they would undoubtedly receive. This would te a step in the right direction, and would lead to the perfecting of a permanent organization. We hope to see a company formed downtown in the near future. The new organization for the time being could use the old Osgood quarters and the extra truck. Boom it up, l;oys,”
At latest reports there were forty-eight names on the sick list of the New York FireDepartment.
John A. Fynes, formerly foreman of Barnicoat Engine Company No, It of Boston, distinguished himself on the F’ourth of July last by ascending in the big balloon “ Wanderer” in company with Professor Alien, from the Boston Common. After ascending nearly three miles the balloon went seaward. The gas was released and the balloon descended off Marblehead Neck. They thought they were 1. »t when they discovered a speck upon the horizon, which proved to be the police boat, which rescued them. Mr. Fynes represented the Associated Press of Boston.
At the regular meeting of the Brooklyn (V. D.) Exempt Firemen’s Association, on Friday, John T. Finn was duly elected delegate and Theodore A. Drake alternate to the annua! convention of the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York, at Herkimer, N. Y.
The newly organized fire department of Lansdale, Pa., showed its usefulness on Monday evening at the most serious fire which has occurred in Hatfield township for many years. Two barns and several other buildings were consumed, and it was only the exertions of the firemen that saved the surrounding structures.
James Moser, a member of Old Passaic Fire Company No. I, met a shocking death in his confectionery store on Main street, Paterson, on July 9. He was charging a copper soda water tank and moving it at the same time on a roller. Suddenly the tank burst and its fragments flew in all directions. Moser was struck in the neck by the flying pieces and one of them severed his jugular vein. His jawbone was also shattered. He died three minutes later. A number of employees in the establishment were stunned by the shock.
The design for the badge which will be presented to the delegates to the Pennsylvania State Firemen’s Convention in September at Lock Haven is a landscape scene’with a river on which rafts are floating. A woodsman engaged in chopping a fallen tree to logs is seen in the foreground, while in the distance the mountains are visible. The design is typical of the town, and the occupation of many of the inhabitants of that section of the State.
A Reading (Pa.) dispatch says: “ A dozen buildings of various kinds have been destroyed by fire within the past two weeks in Nereford township, entailing a loss of over $50,000. The fires all occurred within a radius of three miles. The people are thoroughly alarmed, and officers have been employed to run down the firebugs.”
Since the $48,000 lumber fire at Beattyville a bucket brigade has been organized in that town, and the local papers publish a long array of members and officers, principally officers. The next step, we presume, will be to demand that insurance rates be cut in two because of a fire department. That is the usual proceeding. All the Beattyville premiums for seventy-five years w ill not make up the losses on that lumber lire. — Insurance Herald, Louisville.
The Brooklyn Fire Department got off easily on the “ Fourth,” with eighteen box and five still alarms.
Platt Van Cott, foreman of Engine No. 2 of the Brooklyn Fire Department, has been in the department since it was organized twenty-two years ago. He has served for the last five years as foreman of Engine No. 2.
Frederick Brown, an old member of Washington Hook and Ladder Company of Hoboken, N. J., died last week after a lingering illness.
Chief Stagg of the Paterson (N. J.) Fire Department will rusticate for ten days.
Flatlands Engine Company No. I of Canarsie, Long Island, has elected officers as follows: Wm. II. Ecks, foreman ; John H. Conk, first assistant, and Chas. A. Tisch, second assistant foreman ; Henry M. Butecke, treasurer; Edwin D. Morrell, recording secretary ; Richard V. Remsen, assistant secretary ; John Kraft, financial secretary ; Theodore Godfrey, steward ; trustees, II. M. Storer, John W. Rumpf, A. J. Fisher, John Kraft and John II. Conk.
At the annual meeting of the board of trustees of the Newtown (Long Island) Fire Department, Francis McKenna of Steam Engine Company No. 4, Maspeth, was elected presi dent ; Samuel Twaddle of Woodside Hook and Ladder Company No. 3, vice-president, and Bernard Becker of Gooderson I lose Company No. 3, treasurer.
The annual meeting of the Flatbush (Long Island) Fire Department was held last Thursday week. The election of officers for the ensuing year resulted as follows: Alfred E. Steers of Mai bone Hose Company No 5, president; Joseph II. Nettleton of Farmers Hook and Ladder Company, vice-president; W. A. Stephens of Washington Hook and Ladder Company, secretary; Peter Osman of Flatbush Fire Company No. ij treasurer.
Chief Engineer George Robertson of the New Milford (Conn.) Fire Department, is now making a visit to his native country, Scotland. He has been for thirty years a member of Water Witch Hose Company No. 2. the members of which presented him before he left upon his trip with a handsome gold-headed cane.
A fire company with a membership of thirty has been formed at Arkadelphia, Ark.
J. M. Foster of Richmondville, N. Y., has offered to give to the village two large plunger pumps which he owns, provided the citizens will buy 500 feet of hose and arrange with A. B. Stevens to attach them to his water wheel for use in case of fire. It is probable that the arrangement will be made.
A fire in the West Stanley Colliery at Consett, near Durham, Eng., on July 10, wrecked the pit head and destroyed most of the machinery. The loss will exceed $31×1,000. About 500 men are thrown out of work.
A disastrous fire occurred at Foster, a small village on the Delaware. Lackawanna and Western road, about twelve miles north of Philadelphia, on Monday. The flames started in the Exchange Hotel, and afterward communicated to the Delaware. Lackawanna nnd Western station, two stores and a dwelling house, all of which were totally destroyed. The hotel was a very large one, four sturies high, and the depot was considered one of the best on the northern division of the Lackawanna road. The total loss will be $25,000. It is thought that the hotel caught fire from a spark from a passing locomotive.
A cable dispatch of July 13 from Berlin, says : “ A fire occurred to-day in the orangery adjoining the residence of the Duke of Anhalt at Dessau, the capital of the duchy of Anhalt. An exhibition of paintings was rescued from the burning building, though a few of them which were in the more inaccessible points were destroyed. For a time it seemed as if the castle of the Duke of Anhalt would catch fire from the burning orangery, but the efforts of the firemen were finally successful and the castle was saved without having sustained any material damage.”
Captain Henry C. McGinnis, of No. 2 truck of the Newark (N. J.) Fire Department, met with an accident the other morning which, while not serious, inconvenienced him somewhat. An alarm came in shortly before noon, and the horses started on a run. The captain in trying to mount the truck lost his grip and fell. The fall shook him up considerably and also bruised his right arm.
Among the suggestions recently made to the Newark Fire Commissioners by Superintendent Astley are that each hose wagon be supplied with chemical extinguishers, as they are of great use in the event of small fires, and that the axles and wheels of all the engines be made of uniform size, so that in case of an accident the injury can be quickly repaired.
At the last meeting of the Exempt Fireman’s Association an invitation was received from the Atlantic City Fire Department to attend the tournament to be held in that city on September 29 and 30, anl October 1 and 2. As the annual convention of the State Fireman’s Association will be held in the same place at the same time, it was decided that the invitation be accepted. At the next meeting of the association, to be held on the 24th inst., in Fireman’s Hall, the necessary arrangements will be made and a full attendance is requested. —Newark (N. J.) Call.
Superintendent Astley and Fire Commissioner Kinnard, of Newark, N. J., visited the new fire boat in New York on Friday of last week, on invitation of the New York officials.
The new house of Friendship Engine Company of Harrisburg, Pa., is rapidly approaching completion. It will be one of the finest engine houses in the State when finished.
The employees of the United Glass Company of Wellslroro, Pa., have organized a hose company to be known as the Bailey Hose Company. Superintendent Grant is president; Paul St. Peter, secretary; John Shaw, foreman; and John Och, assistant foreman.
The commissioners of the Albany (N. Y.) Fire Department have approved the plans of Architect Hoffman for a house for Steamer No. 9 of Fred W. Brown, for one for Steamer No. 7, and of Frank P. Wright for truck house No. 3 and an addition to steamer house No. to.
Chief Higgins of Albany will represent the Albany Fire Department at the nineteenth annua) convention of the National Association of Fire Engineers at Springfield, Mass., August it.
The Glenburn Hydropathic Institute at Rothesay, Eng., has been burned. The damage amounts to $300,000.
A fire company has been organized at Greenville, N. 1L
There were twenty-five fires in Jersey City during the month of June. The losses footed up $17 696.
There is talk of organizing a paid fire department at Hazleton. Pa.
The fire commissioners of Elmira have asked for an appropriation of $37,000 to purchase additional apparatus and hose.
Ilarnum, Col., is to have a hose company.
The firemen of Johnson City, Tenn., have organized as two companies, a hose company and hook and ladder company. II. D Gump is chief of department, and Wade Whitesides assistant chief.
The Penally (N. J.) Volunteer Fire Department has been organized with thirty-five members. The officers are : President, Jos. W. Craig ; vice-president, Herbert Westervelt; treasurer. Wm. B. Powell ; secretary, C. P. Westervelt; chief. G. If. Westervelt; foreman, C. S. Robertson ; assistant foreman, J. C. Westervelt.
A fire company has been organized at Lampasas, Tex.
The fire commissioners of Morristown. N. J., are receiving bids for building a new house for Hose Company No. 2.
A fire company of forty members has been organized at Milford, Me. Km. S. Tozier is captain, Elmer Kenney first and Chas. Hildreth second foreman. The Alert engine is being prepared for their use.
The subject of fire protection is .being agitated at Ox Bow N. Y.
Superior, Wis., will have a new’ central fire station to cost $7500.
The residents of West Albany, N. Y., are anxious for some means of fire protection.
Engine No. 6 of the Brooklyn Fire Department, while responding to an alarm on Saturday night collided with a Myrtle avenue car, and knocked it to a position at right angles to the track. The driver of the car was badly hurt.
The Fabric Fire Hose Company has received the contract for 7000 feet of hose from Milwaukee, Wis.
A volunteer fire company has been organized at Mineral Ridge, Ohio.
A Waterville (Me.) item says: “Work has been commenced upon the new hose house, located at corner of Ticonic and Brook streets, and it will be finished and ready to be occupied in a short time. An efficient company will be organized, and thus a want met which has been felt and expressed for a long time. The thing now needed in connection with the fire department is some more reliable method of giving the alarm w hen there is a fire in the upper part of the city. The lack of this now frequently causes the loss of valuable time.”
A Memphis (Tenn.) item says: “The petition of Chief Burke, calling attention to the uninhabitable condition of the engine-house on the bluff was read, received and filed. The council was a unit in the belief that a new engine-house should be built, but there is no money to pay for it. President Clapp promised to find some way to relieve the firemen.”
A Wilkesbarre (Pa.) dispatch says: “ Judge Rice decided an important suit in connection with the coal trade in giving an opinion in the injunction suit of Mine Inspector Williams against the Kingston Coal Company. The mine law of 1885 says : No breaker or other inflammable structure shall be erected w ithin 200 feet of the shaft or mouth ot any coal mine.” All breakers then standing were of course exempt. On May 5 last the two large breakers of the Kingston Coal Company at Edwardsville were destroyed by fire. Both were within two hundred feet of the shaft’s mouth. The company has started to rebuild upon the same site. Mine inspector Williams applied for and obtained an injunction stopping them. Judge Rice, in granting the injunction to stop the building of a wooden breaker, intimates that an iron one would be permisable. An iron breaker would involve an additional expense of $too,ooo.”
The Fabric Fire Hose Company has increased its stock by $100,000, making the capital of the company now $200,000. Of the stock recently issued, $50,000 is common and $50,000 preferred. With this new capital the company proposes to increase its facilities for manufacturing, and a good showing of sales may be expected for the current year. The company has reorganized with the following officers : Adolph Dobke, secretary, and Thomas A. Raymond, president and treasurer.