THE PITTSBURG FIRE APPARATUS.
According to a local paper of Pittsburg, the repair of engines and other fire apparatus at the city repair shop is sufficient to keep the force of men employed there busy about all the time. After the winter season there is usually a lull in the work; but at present there are four steam engines, one chemical emrine, one hose reel and one truck laid off for repairs. It may be that conditions are really not any worse now than they have been for some time past; but the repairs necessary now compared with those that had to be made only a few years ago show a noticeable increase. Whether this is due to the fact that the apparatus is in the natural course of events fast wearing out and is not being replaced with all that is required and necessary to keep Pittsburg’s fire department up to the proper standard of efficiency, or to the reckless use of the apparatus in times of emergency, is rot exactly determined. These remarks do not refer to the usual minor repairs which are co. stantly being called for, but to those of a more extensive sort. It is said by some that, while making a fair allowance for old machinery, small parts were broken from apparently no other cause than simply wearing out. It may he pointed out that a number of engines had been repaired and rebuilt so often that they are practically over their best days and that it is an expense to keep them in repair. With four engines in the repair shop, it leaves the department two short of a sufficient number for a full and complete department. Two additional engines are kept for emergency ; but these are constantly in use, as there are always two or more engines in the repair shop.
[It must not be forgotten that Pittsburg, with its many narrow streets, its “Hump” and other hills, is very hard upon the pieces of apparatus, and that collisions are constantly being threatened and are averted only by the skill of the drivers in the fire department. Nor should the paper in question have neglected to advert to the fact that the engines and the pieces of apparatus, in order to reach fires have to be jolted over many lines of railway tracks, not always in the best of repair, hauled over all sorts and conditions of side roads, full of holes and sr.ags to fight fires in rolling mills and glassworks, the heat from which, inti pendently of that caused bv the fierce flames that have to be fought, is sufficient to damage, often to destroy the best fire apparatus ever turned out. The remedy lies not in more careful service at fires or in going to, or retitring from them, but in having in reserve a larger number of pieces of relief apparatus—giving the oth w pieces a rest, as it WERE.-EDITOR.]