THE FIRE PROTECTION OF DALLAS
The fire protection committee of the National Board of Fire Underwriters has completed its report of fire and water conditions at Dallas, Tex., from which the following is taken;
The city had a population of 100,000 in 1900, and it is gradually growing in importance as a manufacturing center. The city is governed by a board of commissioners elected every two years with the mayor as president. It has an area of
18.5 square miles and 276 miles of streets. The gross fire loss for five years ending April 30, 1909, amounted to $1,778,613, varying from $135,826 in 1906-7 to $781,852 in 1908-9. The average number of fires was 166, varying from 361 in 1905-6 to 684 in 1908-9, with an average loss per fire of $764. The average number of fires per 1,000 population was $5.55, arid the average yearly loss per capita was $4.23.
The waterworks is owned and operated by the city. The plant in Dallas was purchased in 1881 from private owners, and the Oak Cliff, a separate system, was purchased in 1906. The super vision of the waterworks is under D. F. Sullivan. commissioner, and R. R. Nelms is superintendent. The supply works is in charge of J. M. Bassett as chief engineer. At present the entire supply for the main portion of the city is pumped front a collecting reservoir on the Elm fork of the Trinity river, with an emergency gravity supply from an impounding reservoir on one of its tributaries, to a storage reservoir at Turtle creek, and is repumped to the distribution system, which is in one service, with a standpipe acting as a pressure equalizer. Elevations in the area supplied range from 85 to 220 feet above the city datum, the zero of which is about 100 feet below flood stage of the Trinity river, and 318.31 feet above mean gulf level. The entiresupply is obtained from Elm fork of Trinity river and from Bachman’s branch, a tributary of this fork. The flow of Bachman’s branch is impounded in a reservoir and held in reserve; when used, it feeds the Turtle creek reservoir through a gravity conduit, but under ordinary conditions the supply is from Elm fork, pumped into the same conduit by the low-lift unit installed at Record’s Crossing station. The average annual rainfall for the past fourteen years has been 35.82 inches, but during the past year, which was the driest on record in the state, the rainfall was only 13.52 inches, seriously depleting the storage in the reservoirs. A small additional supply may be obtained from a deep well, located adjacent to the Turtle creek pumping station, and foundations have been built on the east bank of the Trinity river opposite this station for the placing of two 3,000,000-gallon centrifugal pumps, belt driven from gasoline engines; these pumps were purchased during the past year for emergency use and could be quickly installed. Record’s Crossing reservoir is located about four miles northwest of center of city, built in 1895. A collecting reservoir, with an estimated capacity of 200,000,000 gallons, is formed by a masonry dam on Elm fork, well constructed and of good design. Elevation of spillway overflow, 76,0. Elm fork has a drainage area of about 700 square miles above the dam. The supply front this reservoir is pumped to the gravity conduit supplying the Turtle creek reservoir. Record’s Crossing pumping station was built in 1895, and is located adjoining the east end of the dam on Elm fork. The pump takes suction from a well supplied through two 30-inch pipes from the screen well joining the station and located in the reservoir, and discharges into the conduit through a surge tank. The engine is located on the floor of the station at elevation 99.5, with vertical pump cylinders, at elevation 68. In 1908 high water elevation was 106, at which time the pumps were completely submerged and boiler flooded to above fire box. The number and total daily capacities of the pumping engines in service are; Two Worthington, 2,225,000, in poor condition; 3 Holly engines of an aggregate capacity ot 26,450,000 gallons; 1 Tod engine of
10,000,000 gallons in good condition and a SmithVailc engine of 1,000,000 gallons. Bachman’s reservoir is an impounding reservoir of 700,000,000 gallons capacity, located about 6 1/2 miles northwest of the center of the city, was built in 1902 on Bachman’s branch, near its confluence with Elm fork. The dam is about 2,200 feet in length, built of earth with up-stream face paved with concrete to above the flood-line, and downstream face sodded; the dam is apparently well constructed and of substantial cross section, but there are indications of slipping on the downstream face, and a slight leakage through a gravel stratum beneath the dam. An adequate concrete spillway is provided at the south end of the dam. Two pipe lines pass through the dam, both provided with gates on their upstream ends; one is used for cleaning out, and the other for conveying supply to the conduit. There is about 23 feet of water over the outlet pipe when the reservoir is full. Flow-line elevation, 118.83. The supply conduit is five miles long and from mostly 42 inches in diameter. The Turtle creek reservoir storage reservoir has a capacity of 133,000,000 and 25 feet deep. It is located about 1 1/2 miles from the center of the city and was constructed in 1891. At the Turtle creek pumping station a 5-inch well, 1,050 feet deep, has been driven to the Paluxy sands, to be used in case of emergency; it has an estimated capacity of 275,000 gallons per 24 hours when operated under air lift. An additional well is being driven to the Trinity sands and is expected to furnish
1,000,000 gallons per 24 hours. There are two pumping stations near the Turtle creek reservoir. The first one ivas built in 1886, and its engines have a total capacity of 16,450,000 per day. A standpipe was constructed in 1887, located about one-half a mile south of the pumping station and used principally as an equalizer of pressure at the pumps. It has a capacity of 155,000 gallons and is connected by a 16-inch line to one of the discharge mains.
The average daily consumption for two years, based upon plunger displacement, without allowance for slip, was in 1905 7,260,000 gallons, or 100 gallons per capita, and in 1909 14,716,000, or 157 gallons per capita. There are over 18,000 connections to the distribution system used to supply the consumers throughout the city; only a few of the larger services are metered, there being but 21 meters in use. The installing of meters has been under consideration for some time, and while meeting with considerable opposition it is thought that the metering of services will be commenced in a short time. The following services, 2 inches in diameter and larger, are in use: Forty-one 2-inch, four 3-inch, nineteen
4-inch and eighteen 6-inch, eleven of the latter being for automatic sprinkler supply. The pressure-recording gauge at the Turtle creek pumping station showed a steady pressure of 68 pounds, and records taken at 137 hydrants showed little variation from this figure. The city is supplied in one service by direct pumping from the Turtle creek station. Elevations throughout the city range from 85 to 220, and in the congestedvalue district from 95 to 140. There are 113.7 miles of pipe in the system, ranging from 24 to 4 inches in diameter, of which 61.9 miles are 6-inch and 2.4 are 24-inch. The gate-valves in use are 875 of Crane & Chapman patterns, and 925 hydrants of various makes are set. Most of the hydrants are three-way, with 6-inch barrel. Hydrants are used indiscriminately throughout the city for filling springling carts and flushing sewers, also by other city departments and contractors; in some sections they are said to be operated from thirty to forty times a day. The damage from this misuse is serious.
A permanent plant is to be established near Bachman reservoir to pump from Elm fork to this reservoir; the intake from the river has been completed, and the equipment will consist of one 10,000,000-gallon centrifugal pump, directconnected to a steam engine, steam to be furnished by two boilers which will be moved to the new site upon the dismantling of the old Turtle creek pumping station. Another of these boilers will possibly be moved to the Record’s Crossing station. Work will be started at an early date on the development of an additional source of supply from White Rock creek at a point about 4 1/2 miles northeast of the city hall. The plans include an earth dam with concrete spillway, forming an impounding reservoir of approximately 6,000,000,000 gallons storage, the capacity of which may be increased to 7,000,000,000 gallons by the use of flash boards. The entire supply is t he pumped to the distribution system from a steam plant to be located at the end of the dam; the contract for one 15,000,000-gallon triple-expansion pump has been let. From this station a single 36-inch main is to he laid, entering the city on the northeast, branching at several points, connecting and reinforcing the present distribution system. The work is expected to be completed and the plant in operation early in toil. The following mains, shown on the accompanying plan, are proposed to be laid in connection with the new work, the pipe for much of which has been ordered.
The fire service was organized as a full-paid force in 1886 and is under the control of Fire Commissioner Harry L. Seay, whose term expires on April 30, 1911. The chief is the executive head of the department and is responsible for discipline and the condition of apparatus and horses. He is experienced in the duties of his position and is a good disciplinarian. The assistant chiefs are in command of the department in the absence of a superior in rank. The master mechanic has general supervision over apparatus and charge of the repair shop in addition to his duties as engineer of steamer. The present officers of the department are H. F. Magee, chief; T. A. Myers, first assistant; J. L. Marder, second, and F. F. Bennett, third. E. A. Lott is master mechanic. Members are allowed 7 days’ annual vacation, 2 days a month off and 3 hours daily for meals. The department is equipped with the following apparatus: Eight steamers,
13 hose wagons and reels, 4 trucks, 2 chemical engines, 1 chief’s automobile, 4 supply wagons, 66 horses, 28,350 feet of 2 1/2-inch hose, 1,350 feet of ladders, 7 short ladders, 27 portable extinguishers, 3 Deluge sets, 2 siame.se connections, 1 turret nozzle, 1 ladder pipe and 1 cellar pipe. The engine companies average 7 men each, and only one requires a 3-horse hitch. The conclusion’s of the committee are that the fire record shows that there is need for more frequent and regular inspection of buildings for the removal of unnecessary combustibles and the prevention of fires, for the intelligent use of chemicals and small nozzles to reduce water damage and for salvage work. Records are well kept; the chief’s reports are complete and contain excellent recommendations. Recent improvements have greatly strengthened the department in many ways, but additional men, better ladder and chemical service in outlying sections, a new headquarters and considerable minor equipment are needed. The fire alarm system is a 10-circuit, non-interfering Gamewell, with 209 street boxes.
The report recommends the following improvements: That the department be strengthened by adding 2 men to each engine company and to ladder companies 1 and 2; by installing a 7-man ladder company at Oak Cliff and a 7-man ladder company at Colonial Hill, South Dallas; light service trucks with 40-gallon chemical tanks for proposed ladder companies; engines of 700-gallons capacity for companies 1 and 8; combination hose wagons for engine companies; a turret pipe and reserve hose wagon; that 2 1/2-inch hose be fitted with National standard couplings, and that trucks be equipped with life-nets and small tools. It is finally recommended that a drill tower be erected and that all members, especially new men, be regularly drilled in the use of pompier and other ladders, quick handling of hose, use of chemicals, shut-off nozzles, Deluge sets, hydrant hose gates, siamesed lines and turret pipes and in life-saving. That all engines be tested yearly, pumping for half an hour against a water pressure at least too pounds in excess of hydrant pressure.