THE HALIFAX DISASTER
Some Facts About the City. Its Fire and Water Equipment. Views After the Explosion.
The city of Halifax, Nova Scotia, which was visited with a terrible calamity in the form of an explosion and fire which destroyed half of the town on December 6, owns its own water works. The city’s population is about 46,000, and it lies on the southern coast of the island of Nova Scotia, having a commodious harbor. The water supply consists of two reservoirs— Spruce Hill Lake and Long Lake—with a capacity of about 700,000,000 gallons. The gravity distribution from the reservoir supplies 3,175,000 gallons per day. There are about 78 miles of 3 to 27 inch cast iron mains. At last accounts there were 475 hydrants, with hose connections of 2½ and 4 inches. There were 4,800 meters in use. The daily consumption was estimated at 10,000,000 gallons per day. The service connections were 8,100 in number. Pressures ranged from 15 to 70 pounds. The fire department at the last report consisted of two American-LaFrance motor pumping engines, and six steam engines, one combination wagon, two ladder trucks, three chemical engines, eight hose wagons and one chief’s wagon, all horse drawn. There were 123 men in the department, all told. Two interesting illustrations showing different phases of the disaster, in which the chief, his assistant and several firemen lost their lives, are presented on this page. The soldiers are shown removing the debris in the search for victims of the explosion and fire. Soon after the disaster a blizzard set in, and many of the unfortunates, who were wounded and unable to assist themselves, were buried in the snow or died from the biting cold and exposure. The scene shows the difficulties under which the rescuers so heroically labored and also gives a very good idea of the complete destruction wreaked by the explosion and fire. The other illustration gives a closeup view of the Belgian relief ship Imo, beached on the Dartmouth side of the harbor. It was this vessel which caused the calamity by her collision with the munition laden vessel Mont Blanc in the Narrows, owing, it is claimed, to a misunderstanding of signals. The Mont Blanc caught fire and this was followed by the exploding of the entire cargo of munitions in one life-destroying blast. The Richmond district of Halifax, which sustained the full effect of the explosion, can be seen in the distance in this picture, with every building of the populous section leveled. The fire department of Halifax, in spite of the great difficulties under which it was compelled to work and the loss of its responsible heads, did splendid work in controlling the fire and assisting in the work of rescue.
Southbridge, Mass., expects to receive a new motor pumping engine very shortly.