The Lexington Fire Department.
In his message to the city council of Lexington, Ky., Mayor Skain, adverts to the fire department in the following terms: “The public does not object to paying liberally for fire protection, but the public expects from the fire department results adequate to the outlay on that account. If we keep this department up to the required standard, there must be no slack in the vigilant discipline of the department, or lack of means to keep it efficient.” The question seems to be not as to the efficiency of the fire department, whose work during the past year was conspicuously excellent, but as to the readiness and willingness of the city authorities to keep the department up to the required standard. Not by any means for the first time Chief W. A. Jesse calls attention to the necessity of better protection for the city and for an appropriation so increased as to enable the department to “meet some of the urgent requirements. The department (he adds) has not kept pace with the rapid growth of the city. The increased demands for more fire protection leaves the fire department, with its present force of men and apparatus, altogether too small to render satisfactory service.” An aerial truck is needed, as “at present there is but one truck to take care of the entire city, and the territory to be covered by this truck is altogether too large to permit prompt service.” A firstclass steamer is also needed to supplement the water service in the business section of the city and to light fires in the large factories that are everywhere springing up in the recently annexed boroughs. Two of the lire stations, also, arc in a very dilapidated condition and should not only be rebuilt, but, also, equiped with new combination hose and chemical wagons. Five men should be added to the establishment to serve the additional apparatus recommended. Two thousand feet of hose should also be purchased; twelve fire-alarm boxes should be installed in the new territory added to the city, and fresh horses he added every year to keep the supply up to the requisite standard Between thirty and forty fire hydrants should likewise IKadded to the 526 hydrants already set —127 were set last year in the annexed territory and the overhead wires in the centre of the city should be buried forthwith. The apparatus of the department consists of three combination wagons, hose and chemicals, three hose wagons, a chemical engine, and a hook and ladder truck. Including Chief Jesse and Assistant Chief O. W. Shryock, the firefighting force consists of forty men, including four captains, a fire-alarm operator. and aide to the chief, with four substitutes. During the past year the department traveled in response to and from alarms 1,282 miles. The hose companies laid 48,70(1 ft. of hose—about miles. The hook and ladder and chemical companies raised 3,624 ft. of ladder. The chemical companies discharged seventy-nine tanks—mak ing a grand total of chemicals used of about 3,748 gal. Forty alarms were answered in De cember the largest number answered in any one month during the year, the largest monthly loss occurred in March which was $48,214.90. The total loss during the year was $90,132.01. The value of property exposed to risk was $523,700. The total amount of insurance on property involved was $373,700. The total loss, therefore, was not over one-sixth of the value of the property exposed to risk and only a little more than one-fourth of the insurance value—a record that should satisfy the mayor’s requirements. Of the fires 274 were confined to the place of origin; only two extended to adjoining buildings and only one extended beyond adjoining buildings, which showed that the fires were well handled. One hundred and fifty-eight took place in frame structures; fifty-six in 2-story brick; eighteen in 1-story brick, seven apiece in 3-story and 4-story brick and three in 5-story brick—showing the majority of the fires to be in frame buildings and, therefore, most liable to spread.