Big Fires and Small Losses.

(Special Reports to FIRE AND WATER.)


Edward Trickett, the new head of the fire department of Kansas City, Mo., is a native of Preston county, W. Va., and was born on March 2, 1840. When he was yet a child his parents removed to Covington, Ky., when, in 1855, they went to Iowa City, Ia. In course of time Edward Trickett moved to Quincy, Ill., where in August, 1861, he enlisted in company F of the Third Illinois cavalry, with which corps he served for three years, and was mustered out as sergeant at Camp Butler, Springfield. Two years afterwards, being now married, he made his home at Kansas City, Mo.„ where for five years he was a patternmaker in the old John Murray foundry and machine shop, afterwards working at his trade as a carpenter until July 15, 1875, when Colonel Frank Foster, at that time chief of the fire department, made him foreman of truck No. 1, and on April 29, 1884, master mechanic for the department. It was Col. Foster who first systematised the Kansas City fire department, introduced discipline,and laid the foundation for the present department. He resigned in favor of Chief George C. Hale in 1882. In April, 1887. Master Mechanic Trickett was made second assistant chief, and was promoted to be first assistant on the death of Joseph McArdle, the former incumbent, which took place on March 1, 1893. On April 21 of this year he was promoted to be chief of the department. The twenty-fifth anniversary of Chief Trickett’s service was celebrated at fire headquarters on July 15, 1900, by a gathering of the firemen and the presentation of a medal of gold and diamonds. The chief has patented several inventions. Under Chief Trickett the fire department of Kansas City will be kept up to its present high state of discipline and efficiency.


With his promotion came the promotion of Second Assistant Chief Alexander Henderson to the position vacated by Chief Trickett. The new first assistant chief joined the Kansas City fire department as runner on April 21. 1875, and shortly afterwards was made a regular fireman and attached to hook and ladder truck No. 1, whose foreman he became in June, 1887. He was promoted to be third assistant chief on August 14. 1890; second assistant chief, on March 1. 1893; first assistant chief,’ on April 21, 1902. He is an experienced fireman, with a fine record for pluck and general efficiency.

Daniel F. Donovan, who succeeded First Assistant Chief Henderson as second assistant chief, is a man of the same calibre as his two superior officers. He entered the department as a fireman with hose comoany No. 2 on June 4, 1886, from which company he was transferred and promoted to be foreman of hook and ladder truck No. 3. His promotion as third assistant chief came on June 21, 1900. and as second, on April 21, 1902.

Edward Cassidy, the new third assistant chief of the department, is a veteran who sticks at nothing when fighting a fire, and is highly esteemed among his comrades. He was appointed to hose company No. 9 on July 1, 1890, becoming foreman on April 13, 1893, and third assistant chief in April, 1902.

Master Mechanic Lou E. Hale was appointed to hose company No. 6 on May 1, 1883. He resigned from the department in July, 1885, but was reappointed and made foreman of hose company No. 8, when that company was organised in December, 1886. His promotion as master mechanic followed on that of Chief Trickett as second assistant chief in April, 1887. He has also been acting assistant chief since May 6, 1896.

John C. Egner, secretary of the department, was appointed to hose company No. 3 on March 21, 1884, and transferred to hook and ladder company No. 1 on March 1, 1885. In August, 1888, he resigned from the department, but was reappointed to his old company on January 1, 1889, becoming its foreman on September 13, 1891. He became secretary of the department on November 21, 1891, and has been acting assistant chief since May 6, 1896.

When the fire patrol was organised on June 1, 1889, John F. Pelletier was appointed to that branch of the service and made its superintendent. He joined hose company No. 2 on September 15, 1879, becoming foreman of the company in October, 1882. On August 15, 1887, he resigned, and two years afterwards was appointed to the office which he now tills so efficiently. Supt. Pelletier is a member of the International Association of Eire Engineers.


The past year was a record-breaker for the fire department of Bloomington, 111., the indefatigable chief of which is Henry Mayer. More alarms were answered in 1901 than ever before by the firemen, and the fires themselves were of the most serious kind. Yet, with the exception of two where frame buildings joined each other, every fire was confined to the place of origin. Considering all the conditions and the number of wooden buildings in the city, such a record is worthy of notice, and shows how thoroughly efficient the department is. It is composed of twenty-two men paid full time. During ti.e year 140 alarms were answered—fourteen more than in 1000—the greatest number—twenty-five and eighteen—being received in June and July respectively, and the smallest six, six and seven, being in March, September and April. Of the fires twentyfour are set down as “supposedly incendiary”; twenty-five were caused by gasolene stoves; twentyone each by defective flues and carelessness with matches; and five from electric wires. The highest losses were in March and September, two of the months in which there were the fewest alarms; the lowest in November and January. The total fire loss for the year was $39,288.51; paid by insurance companies, $37,288.51; loss not covered, $2,000; total insurance, $310,140—3 right good showing. The general operating expenses, including $1,200 paid for new hose, were $21,503.04. Deducting this amount from the $22,000 appropriated, leaves a balance in operating fund of $496.96. The special fund for the purchase of grounds and erection of buildings was $36,000. Expended and taken out of this fund for three building lots, $9,006.90; balance in fund, $26,993.10. The total expense of running the department for the year was $30,509.94. The value of the property is as follows: Real estate, $34,400; rolling stock. $17,000; horses and harness, $2,400; hose, $3,000; furniture and fixtures, $2,000; fire alarm telegraph, $7,000: total, $65,800. The fire area of Bloomington is 125 acres; the business buildings are of brick and stone, four and five stories; private, of wood, one and two stories. Chief Mayer is also inspector of buildings.


Only two false alarms, and these of mistake, were turned in at Butte, Mont., during the past year, and the showing of the department is splendid—one of which Chief Peter Sanger and his men connot but feel proud. The loss may be set down as follows: On buildings, $21,415 : contents, $31,000—total, $52,415: insurance—buildings, $806,470: contents, $394,480—total. $1,926,200; insurance paid. $42,170; class of buildings—frame, eighty-five; brick, forty-eight; other than buildings—tarpot; rubbish; shaft; electric pole: viaduct; false alarms for supposed fires, two—total. 140: work performed during the year— department laid 37,000 feet of hose; raised 2,830 feet of ladder; traveled 135 miles; worked eighty-three hours and twenty minutes at fires; consumed 2„oi2 gallons of chemicals; and consumed 783,450 gallons of water. The apparatus is as follows: Chief’s buggy ; hose wagons, two; Champion combination hose and chemical wagon: Champion eighty-gallon chemical engine; hook and ladder trucks, two (one much used during the year) ; hose wagon (in reserve) ; hose reel stationed at South Butte; hose, 7,850 and a half feet; Deluge set; Gamewell fire alarm installed, with nineteen and a half miles of No. 10 YV. P. wire, divided into four circuits, fifty-four boxes; storage battery, etc. The department consists of thirty men, including chief, three assistant chiefs, electrician and twenty-five firemen. Chief Stanger has asked for the purchase of 4,000 feet of hose, and the amending of the ordinances as to inside wiring and fire escapes. He is to be congratulated on the efficiency of his officers and men; they, on their chief; and the citizens of Butte, on the officers and men of the fire department individually and as a body.


From April 30, 1901, to April 30, 1902, the fire department of Norristown, Pa., answered twenty-four alarms of fire, the total loss from which amounted to $42,229, the insurance carried being $129,569. If two large fires, those of All Saints’ church and the Protectory, are deducted from the total loss, then the figures do not look so formidable and amount only to $8,734, leaving $33,495 to be set down to the other losses. In the case of neither of these fires was the department summoned in proper time. In that of the church there was an unwarranted delay in turning in the alarm; in that of the Protectory there was not only delay, but there was also a miserable supply of water. That so much of each building was saved speaks volumes for the efficiency of Chief Peter Hoy and his department. During 1902 the department had the following additions made to it: A combination hose wagon and chemical engine; thirteen fire alarm boxes; transmitter in the city hall, and new hose. More fire hydrants have also been set. Nine-tenths of the fires in Norristown are extinguished by chemicals, which practically demonstrates the value of such apparatus in modern firefighting. The apparatus consists of the following: Steamers, three of the second class (Amoskeag, Silsby, and Button) ; one-horse hose wagons, three (one carrying shutoff nozzles) ; two (one double tank two-horse Holloway) ; combination chemical engine and hose wagons, two (one two-horse) ; supply wagon (twohorse) ; Deluge set: 4,300 feet of hose, besides chemical hose: Silsby engine fitted with automatic reliefvalve and shut-off nozzles. The Norristown fire department consists of 1,000 members, of whom only nine are paid. Its record is equally good whether on parade or in fighting a fire.


The pyromaniac elevator boy Farrell, who some time ago set fire to the Astor house, Manhattan, New York, has been committed to the Elmira reformatory, to be detained till he is “perfectly reformed.”

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