THE FIRE DEPARTMENTS.
Chief Thomas O’Connor of New Orleans will accept our thanks for an invitation to his silver wedding, which event was celebrated on January 4 at his home, No. 130 Julia street. We congratulate the chief upon the attainment of this happy event in his career, with the hope that he and his good wife will live to celebrate the golden era of their married life.
Chief R. H. Ball of Portland, Me., is desirous that we correct the report that great injury happened to his apparatus in collision with an electric car. The accident, which was a slight one, occurred to the coal pan of Engine No. 4, which bumped into a horse car when the driver turned his team out of the tracks. Some picturesque liar in Portland sent out a blood curdling horror that quite naturally made the chief indignant.
Fire Marshal Mitchell of New York has made to the board of fire commissioners an informal report of the work of the department in extinguishing fires, of losses sustained, insurances, convictions for arson, etc., for the year 1893, up to and including December 30. The force on the latter date comprised 1058 officers and men ; engine companies (including fire boats), 58 ; hook and ladder companies, 22 ; steam fire engines, 92 ; fire boats, 3 ; water towers. 4 ; hook and ladder trucks, 34 ; horses, 405. There were during the year 4132 fires, of which 2763 were extinguished without an engine stream. Of these 1389 caused only nominal damage, 700 did slight damdamage, 177 wrought extensive damage and 31 destroyed the building or buildings in which they started. The estimated loss occasioned was $5,630,937, against 15,060,973, the estimated damage in 1892. The insurance involved was $80,447,194, against $86,517,865 last year. Tne average loss per fire is placed at $1,362.42, against $1,261.77 a year ago. There were 259 telegraph poles and 132 miles of wire taken down during the year.
We extend the compliments of the season to brother Emile Boulier of Louisville, wh® has just been reappointed secretary of the fire department.
There is considerable talk in the Oranges, N. J., over the action of the Orange Fire Department xegarding a fire that occurred in a house on Valley road,West Orange, on Wednesday morning. Chief llodgkinson of Orange, it is said, refused to lend the aid of the Orange Department on account of the treatment that the fire committee of the Orange common council had received from the West Orange township committee when the matter of fire protection for the township was first talked of. The committee held several meetings, but no conclusion was arrived at. Later one of the members of the township committee of West Orange said that Orange wanted a chemical engine and wanted West Orange to pay for it. This and the statement made after the fire at Max Brodesser’s house on Valley road a few months ago, that West Orange could get along without the aid of the Orange Department, caused the trouble. Chief llodgkinson then, it is said, replied that the time would come when he would be asked to aid the township, and then it would be shown how his services in West Orange in past years has been appreciated. The matter has caused considerable talk.
At Hammond, Ind., on January 6, fire caused a loss of $15,000. Within the past four weeks fire has destroyed property in this city valued at nearly $300,000, and this one, as has been the case in all, was the work of an incendiary.
The annual meeting of the Charlestown (Mass.) Volunteer Firemen’s Association was held Saturday evening. The treasurer reported the society in a flourishing condition. Ex-Alderman P. J. Donovan declined re-election as president, he having already served four years in that capacity, and Representative J. J. McCarthy was unanimously elected in his stead.
The loss at the big Toledo fire is much smaller than was first reported. The fire demonstrated beyond doubt that Toledo needs a fire boat.
Chief Hunt’s annual report of the operations of the Seattle Fire Department for the year 1893 is a voluminous document, the principal features of which deal at length with the fire department work for the year. 1’he recommendations made were considered timely, though no action in the way of adoption was taken, the report being referred to a committee of the whole for closer examination. The report, which also embraces the annual report of the city electrician, may be added to and modified in some respects, and will be published in pamphlet form as the work of the commission. Chief Hunt’s estimate of the cost of maintaining the department for February, i8q4, including salaries, light, repairs, fuel, rent of telephones and miscellaneous, is $7314. To this sum the board recommends the addition of $7500 for the erection of a new engine house at Taylor street and Yesler avenue, the work to be done under the supervision of Architect Saunders. Commissioners Kahaley and Jones were appointed a committee by Mayor Ronald to prepare an ordinance providing for the creation of a graded (first, second and third-class firemen) fire department. New men entering the department will, for the first year, be graded as third-class firemen and paid accordingly. With the second year’s service they are promoted both in rank and salary, and so on. It was the sense of the board that Chief Hunt should be granted the privilege of attending the convention of the Pacific coast fire chiefs, to be held in San Francisco during the month of February, and he was accordingly voted a leave of absence from February 1 to March 1.
Our Manchester (N. H.) correspondent writes: Another new manufacturing industry, employing a number of hands, will be located here as soon as a site for a factory can be obtained. The concern will manufacture the Emergency chemical hand fire extinguisher, which has hitherto been manufactured by a company in Lowell, the head of which was S. M. Stevens, the inventor and patentee. A number of Manchester’s capitalists have formed a stock company with a paid-up capital of $5000, and will bring the concern here. The incorporators are W. M. Butterfield, A. D. Huntoon, C. H. Nudd and C. A. Herbert, F. D. Atwood and S. M. Stevens.
Our correspondent at Ogden, Utah, writes: Christmas at the fire station was a season of great rejoicing. The boys took advantage of the occasion to present their worthy chief with a handsome silver carving set in a beautiful case bearing a suitable inscription. The way in which the presentation was made was highly amusing. On Christmas eve Chief Binford had gone up town in company with Mayor Lundy. Assistant Chief Levy telephoned to the chief to return to the central station at once, as there was a free fight going on among the boys. The chief, accompanied by Mayor Lundy, rushed back to the station, and entering with a fierce look in his eye, he demanded to know the cause of the disturbance. The disturbance only began then. Mayor Lundy, in a brief speech, made the presentation, and the boys went wild with delight. The Mayor’s speech was loudly applauded, and Chief Binford was given an enthusiastic reception when he made his reply. The chief then set up the cigars, and compliments were exchanged all round. Last night Chief Binford entertained the boys to a banquet, and presented each member of the department with a beautiful silk handkerchief.
Thomas Dwyer, captain of Engine Company No. 15, Kansas City. Mo., located at the stock yards, met with a fatal accident at the engine house last week. An alarm of fire had been turned in from the Grant, Bragg & Co. candy factory at the corner of 1’enth and Hickory streets, and Captain Dwyer and Hoseman John Crane mounted the hose reel and headed the company in response to the alarm. Dwyer was caught by the large ring at the end of the rope which lifts the harness from the backs of the horses when a hitch is made. He was pulled to the ground as the hose reel was about to go out of the engine house, and fell in such a way that the wheel of the reel passed over his stomach, inflicting internal injuries from which he died in half an hour. Hoseman Crane was struck on the left side of the head and sustained an ugly bruise. Dwyer’s face was slightly scratched from the effects of coming in contact with the hoisting apparatus.
In his annual message to the Passaic (N. J.) council. Mayor Brown criticises the fire methods of that city, and thinks there ought to be a paid department. The management he says is bad, and has been growing worse for years.
The annual convention of the Nebraska State Association will be held at Beatrice on January 16. 17 and 18.
Mayor Rutter of Lawrence, Mass., nominated Michael F. Collins as second assistant engineer of the fire department and the aldermen. 4 to r, rejected the appointment. The Mayor is at present a member of the board of fire engineers, and he desired Mr. Collins to succeed him. The Mayor told the aidermen that he would continue to act as a fire engineer, and, while holding the office of Mayor, at the same time run to fires.
The board of finance of Jersey City has refused to appropriate money for the establishment and maintenance of a paid fire department. The fire commissioners announce that a paid department would be established whether the money was appropriated or not. Corporation Counsel Brinckerhoff notified the board that if the fire commissioners pursued such a course, they were liable to indictment. Mayor VVanser threatens the commissioners with removal if they appoint men before money is raised for the payment of their salaries.
Water Witch Fire Company of Wilmington, Del., have just erected a house at a cost of about $10,000, which was dedicated by the representatives of the fire department on Thursday evening, December 19.
The Mayorof Lynn, Mass., writes: The firedepartment maintains its high rank in point of efficiency and equipment. The city has been fortunate during the year in escaping any large fires. The roll of the department consists of a chief engineer, four assistant engineers, seventy-four permanent men and 101 call men. The department has sixty horses under its control and thirteen fire houses in use. The apparatus and appliances consists of six steamers, eleven hose carriages, four trucks, two chemical engines, one protective wagon and 22 000 feet of hose. A water tower was purchased by the committee on fire department of 1892, and it was added to the fire apparatus last year. The expenditure for this department was $141,818.95.
The total loss by fire in Janesville, Wis., during the year 1893 was $7,2×5.56, which is covered by an insurance of $6,257.56, leaving the uninsured loss only $958. Chief Engineer Spencer has completed his annual report to the common council, giving the above facts. The report states that there were fifty-one alarms during the year, besides two still alarms ; that in responding to these alarms the department traveled thirty-five miles, laid 36.350 feet of hose, raised 642 feet of ladders, and that the department was in actual service thirtythree hours and thirty-five minutes. Chief Spencer gives some valuable statistics in relation to fire losses, premiums paid, and insurance ratings, urging that Janesville insurance rates should be lowered. He covers a period of five years, since the establishment of the water-works and the reorganization of the fire department. According to these tables Janesville has paid the insurance companies in five years the sum of $266,148 21 in premiums ; ‘during the same time the insurance companies have paid losses amounting to only $32,022.99, leaving a balance of $234,125.22. Insurance statistics show Wisconsin as an unprofitable State, her losses being above the average, and, with one exception, her percentage compared with premiums paid being 61.1, while the general average of the whole United States is only 56.5.
The firewards of Newport, R. I., have made their report. The department consists of a chief engineer, four assistant engineers, known as the board of firewards, and 131 firemen ; in all 136 men, ten of whom are permanently employed. There are five steamers with reels, two reels, a hook and ladder truck and an emergency wagon. The losses by fire during the year were $7,507.60, all but $200 of which was secured by insurance.
The town board of Newtown, L. I., at a meeting held Saturday afternoon, accepted the proposition made by the recently organized water-works company of that town to furnish 100 fire hydrants at a cost of $25 each per year. The company agrees to place an additional 100 hydrants for $20 each and for a third 100 at $15. At present Newtown, although it has a well-organized fire department, has no public water supply, and the insurance companies exact a high rate on all the business they take. The water company will immediately place the hydrants.
At Yonkers, N. Y., steps are being taken to have fixed appropriations made during this new year for the support of the fire department and the board of health. Both have hitherto been supported by drafts on the contingent fund, which during 1893 became exhausted.
Chief II. L. Marston of Brockton. Mass., sends a copy of his annual report. From the annual appropriation and other sources the department had $45,530.71 at its command. It expended $41,826.62, transferred to other departments $1350 and has a balance on hand of $2,354.09. This is the best financial showing the department has made for several years. The salaries of the permanent men aggregated $21,070.67, and of the call men $7,807.82. The apparatus is in good condition and the department houses are all right, except that the chief recommends that the stable at the central station be sheathed up to make it warmer. There are twenty-eight permanent men and twenty-four horses connected with the department and it owns x 1,000 feet of hose. There were nine accidents during the year, none fatal. The Firemen’s Relief Association has paid out $2,619.25 in benefits since its organization in 1887. Last year it paid out $695.75. There were 111 alarms of fire during the year. The value of the property where fires occurred, including contents, was $1,119,759 ; insurance on the same, $842,745 ; loss on same, $72,706.36 ; amount of insurance paid, $61,928.36.
Chief Melvin Beal of Lawrence, Mass., has just made up his report for 1893. Whole number of alarms for the year. 107; value of buildings and contents, $369,450; amount of insurance, $209,764; damage to buildings and contents, $22,633.63; amount of insurance paid, $20,463.63 ; total loss over insurance, $2170; total expenses for the year, $35,140.03; pay roll, $25,620,75; running expenses, $9,519.28; assessed valuation of property, $32,240,000. Manual force—Permanent and uniformed men ; Chief engineer, 1; captain, 1; lieutenant,1; drivers of engines, trucks and chemical, 5; drivers of hose wagons, 4; chief’s driver, 1; spare drivers and hosemen, 3; chemical pipemen, 2; total, 18. Call men: Engineers, 2; captains, 4; lieutenants, 4; enginemen, 4; assistant enginemen, 4; hosemen, 28; laddermen, 13; substitutes, 19; total, 78.
The Decatur (Ill.) volunteer firemen are making active efforts to secure the holding of the next Illinois State firemen’s tournament in Decatur. Committees have been appointed and merchants are responding liberally to provide a purse of $1500 for cash prizes. The locating committee will meet at Effingham next Tuesday to decide the question. Decatur will have two delegates at the meeting.
An insurance agent at Montgomery, Ala., writes : “ Something should be done toward the education of the members of the fire department. They fight every fire as would some village department, throwing water without regard to the character of stock even after the fire has been controlled. In some instances they tried to force open the fire doors and shutters of exposing buildings, displaying a lamentable ignorance of the value of this protection. It has been charged that the firemen were drinking heavily during the recent fire, but this has not been sustained, though it was commonly rumored. With the high taxes, poor construction and dirty condition of many buildings, I am satisfied there never will be much money made in this town. Careless underwriting, however, was responsible for the small loss we sustained.”
Columbus, O., has purchased a water tower from the Fire Extinguisher Manufacturing Company of Chicago for $4500.
Mrs. Elizabeth Brown, wife of Chief Joseph Brown of the Elizabeth (N. J.) Fire Department, died suddenly January 7 at her .home. No. 121 Broad street.
Alderman Perry of Utica, N. Y., has prepared a bill to authorize the police and fire commissioners to obtain from the city $15,000 for immediate use to procure new apparatus; also increasing the police and fire fund to $70,000 per year.
With reference to the precautions which are taken to prevent the destruction by fire of the snow sheds of the Central Pacific Railway, a correspondent of The Scientific American says that in addition to the usual provisions for safety, “a watchman is located high up the mountain side, at Cisco, from which vantage ground he has in view almost the entire line of these forty odd miles of sheds. Part of his apparatus consists of a dial, with a pointer so arranged that in case of fire at night, by bringing the pointer in line with the blaze and then consulting the dial, he is at once able to locate the fire and give the alarm to the fire train at Summit. The enormous cost of the structure causes the company to take every precaution to guard against its destruction.”
The annual report of chief of the Columbia (S. C.) hire Department,Vandy Myers, is out. He reports thirty-six alarms during the past year, with losses estimated at $25,000. He urges the granting of a request from the Palmetto Company for a new horse, and of the Columbia Company for a new ceiling in its engine house. The only big fires were the burning of the Haskell mansion and Sidney park church, the losses on the two being $24,000 out of the $25,000 estimated.
The Hoboken (N. J.) board of fire commissioners at their last meeting rescinded a recent resolution giving Clerk Kirschner and Sergeant-at-Arms Alderetta annual presents of $100 and $25 each. The action of the board was prompted by Mayor Fagan, who insisted that they had no right to give these annual presents.
On Saturday as Chief Kennedy of New Haven was tilted back in his swivel chair at fire headquarters, the mechanism snapped and he was thrown backward, striking on his head and neck. He was knocked senseless, but soon revived.— Westporter.
Chief Downing of Lynn in his next report will recommend that his first assistant be made a permanent officer, and that two first-class engines and two chemical engines be added to the service.
Haverhill, Mass., claims to have removed its fire service from politics. Chief Gordon contemplates but few changes this year. The expenses last year amounted to $41,100.16, against $32,793 in 1892. The fire loss last year was $36,671.53.
Lowell has maintained its high rank in point of efficiency the past year, and has not had any disastrous fires. The service consists of a chief, 4 district chiefs, 74 permanent men and 100 call men. The apparatus consists of 6 engines, II hose wagons, 4 trucks, 2 chemicals, 1 water tower and 1 salvage wagon. The expense for the past year amounted to $141,818.95.
Saco, Me., had one solitary fire last year.
The fire service of Pawtucket, R. I., cost $15,600 last year, which included a new truck at a cost of $1700. The estimate this year for fire department purposes is $18,500.
Mayor Olney of Providence, in his inaugural address last week, says: “ I am convinced that the time has arrived when the force should be composed of entirely permanent men. There are but 54 call men in the service and they should be transferred to the permanent force without delay. Providence, with a population of 150,000 and with increasing fire hazards, has certainly outgrown the combination system of a permanent and call force.” He favors the appointment of a practical board of fire commissioners and a pension system.
It is estimated that Boston’s fire service will require $1,035,000 for expenses this year.
Truck 1 of Everett, Mass., is to be rigged for a three-horse hitch.
Springfield (Mass.) firemen have had an increase of pay.
Somerville, Mass., will have a new fire station and a chemical engine this year.
J. H. Roberts of Lynn, Mass., has been appointed a district chief.
The salary of the chief engineer of Fitchburg, Mass., has been fixed at $1000 a year.
Mayor Batchelderof Everett, Mass., has appointed Columbus Corey chief engineer.
Ex-Chief Hough of Malden, Mass., has been appointed a fire commissioner in that city.
Mayor Turner of Salem recommends the sale of the new truck and the purcase of a chemical engine.
A new first-class engine, hose wagon and truck will be added to Fall River’s fire service this year, and all captains are to be made permanent men.
New Bedford, Mass., has come to the conclusion that it needs a chemical engine.
Chief Marchant of Gloucester desires to have the fire alarm telegraph extended and asks for 2000 feet 6T new hose.
The appropriation for Brockton, Mass., will have to be increased this year as another steamer and a new house for it are wanted. The expenses last year were $72,706.
Taunton firemen responded to eighty-five alarms last year. The losses will be found not to exceed $15,000. The committee on fire department reports an unexpended balance of $3.14 of last year’s appropriation.
The annual report for Kansas City shows that the total loss incurred by fire during the year was $763,715, of which $253,928 was on buildings and $509,786 on contents. The insurance involved in these losses amounted to $4,970,000. Of the 749 alarms, eighty-five were due to the explosion of gasoline stoves, 120 were from unknown causes, forty-five were of supposed incendiary origin and ninety-seven were due to defective flues and flues burning out. Nineteen persons were burned by exploding gasoline, three of whom died. Seven persons were burned by carelessness with fire, four of whom died. Water alone was used in extinguishing 230 of the fires. 547 streams being employed, chemicals alone were used in 257 cases. Six fires were smothered with blankets and sixty-two were extinguished with buckets of water alone.
Chief of the Bureau of City Property Eisenhower of Philadelphia has in contemplation the erection of a number of new fire stations during the coming year. So far he has settled upon four, one at Otsego and Moore streets, another at Twenty-sixth and York, another on Fourth above Girard avenue, and the fourth at Twenty-first and Market street. That at Fourth and Girard avenue will be built to accommodate an engine and a hook and ladder company as well as a district engineer, while that at Twenty-first and Market streets will accommodate an engine, a truck, a chemical engine and the water tower, which it is proposed to introduce, and a district engineer.
Rutland has instituted the first paid fire department in Vermont. Two hose wagons, recently purchased, have arrived.
At the annual meeting of Middlebury, Vt., January 3, C. A. Piper was elected chief engineer of the fire department, and B. B. Hope, water commissioner. The matter of selecting an assistant engineer was left to the village trustees and chief.