THE FIRE SERVICE OF SUPERIOR
Every fire in the city of Superior, Wis., during the year 1916 was confined to the building in which it originated and the fire loss was small, being only $32,527 on buildings and $27,065 on contents, a total of $59,592 on property involved valued at $811,071, speaking well for the efficient work of Chief Olaf Johnson and the fire depart-
ment. There were 277 fire alarms during the year, according to Chief Johnson’s annual report, and 24 of these were false alarms. The alarms were as follows : Box, 50; telephone, 200 ; still, 4; A. D. T., 19; special calls for apparatus, 2; calls for additional water pressure, 2; second alarms, 0; third alarms, 0; general alarms, 0. The number of fires in brick and stone buildings was 19 and the number in wooden buildings was 132. Others than building fires were 40, making a total of 221. The number of fires confined to the floor where they originated was 139. The causes of fires include chimney fires, 23; carelessness with matches, 17; stove too near wood, 15; grass fires, 14; sparks from chimneys, 12; sparks from railroad engine, 12. There were 32 fires from unknown causes. The fires were extinguished as follows: By water through hose lines, 36; by chemicals, 85; by water through hose lines and chemicals, 22; by buckets of water and other means, 59; out on arrival, 19. In responding to alarms the department travelled 1,809 miles; worked at fires 477 hours and 29 minutes; laid 44,900 feet of hose; used 3,197 gallons of chemical fluid and raised 2,175 feet of ladder:. There were three calls from outside the city. Engine Company No. 1 was sent to Duluth i I response to a call for assistance at a fire in a lumber yard; a reserve engine and four men were sent to fsoo Line Bridge over Crawford Creek and engine pumped one hour and forty minutes; two men were sent to Lake Nebagamon with 1,000 feet of hose in response to call for assistance at fire at an ice and fuel company’s saw mill. The Board of Fire and Police Commissioners consists of C. H. Mason, president; E. A. Le Gaire, secretary; William P. Walsh, H. M. McKenzie, J. P. Duffy. The chief of the department is Olaf Johnson and Ole Norman is assistant chief. A. Adsit is master mechanic and electrician and there are six company captains, Charles Colwell, Daniel Young, A. McPhee, John Rothwell, Patrick Lynch and High Chambers. Captain Ethan Allen is department painter and John Larson is department blacksmith. The department has fifty-six full paid men, including the officers, one operator at headquarters and two companies of volunteers. The department apparatus includes two steam fire engines, one motor triple combination pumping engine, one tractor drawn aerial truck, one motor squad wagon with chemical tank, one chief’s motor car, one motor cycle, four combination chemical and city and service truck, horse drawn, one horse-
drawn fuel wagon with turret nozzle, one fifty gallon chemical engine (.hand drawn), three hand drawn hose reels, 13,000 feet of 2J4-inch hose, 1,750 feet of chemical hose. The report states the fire alarm system is of the Gatnewell automatic type and the central office, instrument room, battery room and storeroom are located in a one-story fireproof building of re-in forced concrete and brick construction. In this building there are two six-circuit automatic switchboards, one ten-circuit automatic repeater, one 750 W’att A. C. motor direct connected to 500 Watt, 4 ampere, 125 volt shunt wound, D. C. Westinghouse generator, two metallic battery racks, and 220 storage battery cells. In the storeroom, separated by a fire wall, necessary wire, cable, lineman’s tools, etc., are kept on hand for emergency work, repairs and extensions. The outside part of the fire alarm system consists of 31.24 miles of overhead wire, 27,098 lineal feet of lead cable in underground conduit and 11,575 lineal feet of steel taped cable laid in the ground. The underground cables contain a total of 224,438 feet of No. 16 copper conductors and 14,000 feet of No. 14 copper conductors or a total of 238,438 feet of underground copper wire. 26,401 lineal feet, or 43,000 duct feet of underground tile conduit, installed in different streets and avenues is owned. The system is now divided into six outside circuits. There are 83 fire alarm boxes, 26 of which are of the succession type; 25 of these boxes are connected with the underground cable and located on iron posts. In addition there are 6 iron terminal posts in use on the underground system and no splices or connections are made in manholes or ducts. There are 7 large gongs and 5 small gongs in use on the system. The department possesses a private telephone system consisting of 20)4 miles of wire. 7)4 miles of which is in underground cable and 13 miles overhead, connecting all the department houses, police headquarters and the pumping station. There are 11 telephones in use on this system. Chief Johnson says: “Our program for placing the fire and police alarm wires underground which was planned and started in 1910, is now nearing completion, and we now have a thoroughly reliable and up-to-date fire alarm system. The fact that the local telephone companies have been doing similar w’ork was a great help to us, as their officials, engineers and construction forces have been very accommodating in every way and saved us a great deal of expense. Our Master Mechanic, A. Adsit, and our lineman. Ole Carlson, are entitled to a great deal of credit for their very efficient services
and many other members of the department contributed work and talent.
Since the adoption of the Building Code, all permits for new buildings, for repairs and alterations of old buildings and for the installation of heating and lighting apparatus have been issued from this office. A close supervision over building operations has been conducted by members of the department. Inspection of buildings and premises by members of this department for the purpose of preventing fires now’ forms an important factor in the work of the department. During the past year, eight members of the department and the city electrician have been partly engaged in this work. Besides the verbal recommendations for changes and improvements to owners and tenants made by these inspectors while in the performance of their dut.es, 516 printed notices were issued from this office. As a rule, recommendations are generally complied with, and most citizens are giving this work their hearty support.
Under the head of recommendations Chief Johnson says:. “My recommendations of last year for extensive improvements in our fire alarm system have been carried out, and the work is now nearly completed. My recommendations for increasing the water supply for the West End and the South End, which have been included in my reports for several years, will be carried out to completion this year by the Water, Light & Power Company. With these improvements completed, and after adding another combination motor pumping engine, our city should stand A No. 1 from a fire protection standpoint.” He also says structural conditions have been materially improved during the past few years and progress is rapidly being made in better building construction in all parts of the city, by reason of the thorough-going inspection system. Existing hazards are being eliminated and new hazards prevented. The fire limits cover a very small territory, and Chief Johnson states his report of last year contained recommendations to extend them to properly protect the business district against sweeping conflagrations. In his opinion, this is very important and should be done, saying the fire limits should be extended so as to include the district north of Third street and east of Tower avenue.