TOPEKA FIRE DEPARTMENT.
Chief Wilmarth of the fire department of Topeka, Kas., reports that for the year ending December 31, he and his men were called to 141 fires, as follows: Number of fires occur_____ing in brick and stone buildings, thirty-seven; number of fires in wooden buildings, eighty-six; other fires, eighteen. The number of fires confined to building or place of origin was 140; number of fires that extended to one adjoining building, one; number of fires extending beyond one adjoining building, none. The valuation of buildings and contents in which fires occurred was $684,030; losses to buildings, $8,014.64; losses to contents, $5,886.98—total loss for the year, $13,901.62. Insurance upon buildings and contents in which fires occurred, $439,350; insurance losses paid. $10,304.62. There were twenty-five fires in excess of 1896; but the losses the past year were somewhat less. The area of the city is six and one-half miles; population, 35,000; annual cost of fire department, $26,500. The department numbers twenty-nine men, paid full time, and in addition, three regular substitutes. There are seven companies—four hose companies, two chemical engine companies, and one hook and ladder truck company; apparatus in service—two hose wagons; four hose carriages; two two-horse chemical engines, one three-horse ladder truck, one large steam fire engine. There are 6,000 feet of cotton hose, all in good condition; seventeen horses—fifteen for apparatus, one horse and buggy for chief’s use, and one horse and wagon for fire alarm service. The Gamewell fire alarm telegraph is installed, with forty-six boxes, one four-circuit repeater, and thirty miles of wire. The department is under good discipline, and all applicants for the service are required to pass a thorough examination both as to physical and general fitness. The value of the property in charge of the department is as follows: Equipment, $29,251; station buildings and grounds, $58,550—total, $87,761.
The water service is as follows: Direct pressu.e system’ Holly and Gaskill pumping engines; daily capacity, 13.000,000 gallons; source of water supply, driven and open wells.and the Kansas river. There are 31S double fire hydrants, and fortytwo miles of water mains, in size from twenty to four inches diameter. The fire pressure is from 100 to 140 pounds. The fire department apparatus and equipment is all in first-class condition The management of the department is placed entirely under Chief Wilmarth and is wholly free from politics in every way. The department has a regularly organized firemen’s relief association, which carries an accident insurance upon each officer and men.bei of ihe department. If a human is killed in the discharge of his du’ies, his widow, or those dependent upon him receive $r,oco, and also $too for funeral expenses.