TOPIC OF THE DAY.
WE would like all persons interested to inform us immediately of any official change that may occur in their Department.
OWING to Wednesday being New Year’s day some letters from correspondents were delayed in the delivery until too late for publication. They will be attended to next week.
EX-JUDGE WILLIAM DODGE has been appointed Assistant Fire Marshal of the New York Department vice Albert W. Orr, removed. Mr. Dodge’s appointment dates from the 1st instant.
DURING the month of November property to the value of $6,315,100 was destroyed by fire in the United States and Canada, which is about $t,ooo,ooo ;ess than the amount destroyed in November, 1877. The total number of fires was 1,099.
SUPERINTENDENT BULLWINKLE, of the Chicago Fire Patrol, has got out an elegant New Year’s card. It is a representation of his new Patrol Wagon, elegantly printed in four colors on cream card-board. Like the Superintendent himself, it is a “ nobby ” affair.
WK will be under great obligation to any one who will forward us one or more copies of No. 54 of the JOURNAL. By a mistake in our mailing department the copies of that number’reserved for* binding were sent to subscribers instead of No. 55. Any subscriber who can favor us in this respect will do us a great kindness.
TltK Plumber of this city laments the absence of any formula for estimating the capacity of a fire stream passing through a nozzle under a given pressure. It evidently has never heard of the little book entitled ” Fire Streams,” issued by George H. Ellis, of Springfield. The Plumber should read THE JOURNAL more carefully.
WHEN THE JOURNAL was first started, in November of last year, quite a number of persons predicted that it would not live a year. We beg to call the attention of these croakers to this, the first number of Volume III., which not only indicates that it “still lives,” but has met with so fair a degree of success as to justify it in enlarging and improving its general style. We propose to go on living for many years to come, and shall not be satisfied till we have added .many pages to our weekly issue.
A CORRESPONDENT at Gold Hill. Nevada, where they have one Steamer and one Hand Engine, says these are more ornamental than usetul, because their water supply, as regards quantity and pressure,
*’ has no superiors and very few equals.” It is with difficulty they can find hose to withstand the pressure, and it requires three or four men to hold the pipe when playing on a fire. The water is brought from a high level in the mountains, and its own gravity gives it this tremendous power. Such water works arc the best kind of fire protection.
WE hope you like the changes which this number presents in the general appearance of THE JOURNAL. We think they are an improvement. We had grown a little tired of the old cover, partly because it was impossible to get paper always of precisely the same shade cf color, and partly because we thought it too pronounced for a dignified and respectable paper. It will be noticed, also, that we have adopted a better quality of paper for THE JOURNAL, which gives a better effect to its typography. The columns are widened, also, so that each page contains considerable more matter than it formerly did. We shall make other improvements from time to time as circumstances suggest, and trust our friends will use their influence in our behalf until our subscription list will warrant our doubling its size.
THE laws of this State relating to fire matters in Brooklyn require that owners of tenement houses must provide such fire-escapes as the Fire Commissioners shall direct. On November 1, 1877, a Mrs. Wilby and her child lost their lives in a burning building on which there was no fire-escape. A decision recently rendered in the Brooklyn City Court holds that the landlord is liable for damages in consequence of his neglect, and also that the directions issued by the Fire Commissioners in reference to escapes was all that was required. A civil suit for $5,000 in the same case is still pending.
THE direct occasion of the spreading and consequent destructiveness of the recent great fire in St. Louis was an open elevator, which formed a flue and sucked up the flames from basement to attic, and every floor of the buildings vas instantaneously in flames. The same thing occurred in Boston a few nights ago, a large piano factory being entirely destroyed because an elevator was r.ot provided with proper coverings. Authority should be vested with the Firemen to compel’ properly-ow ners to provide proper coverings for all elevators and hatchW’ays, and to enforce penalties if they are left epen.
.THE project for heating New York by steam, under the Holly System, has been approved by the city authorities, and General Spinola is authorized to eivtr upon an experimental test of the plan as soon as his company chooses. Among the conditions imposed upon the company is one providing that they shall heat all city buildings at one-third the present cost. This includes the Engine-houses, and also the maintainance of steam in the Engine-boilers while in the houses, thus doing away with the heaters now in use. The system of heating large areas by steam has been in successful operation for two or three years in Lockpoit, N. Y., where Mr. Holly resides, and there seems to be no obstacle to prevent its being equally successful in this city. When in general operation, the use of steam for heating purposes should materially lessen the number of fires.
AS the first of January comes around each year, the annual change in city and village offices takes place in many sections, and there comes up the inevitable and interminable talk about cutting down expenses. Unfortunately, the cutting down does not commence at the right end. The high-priced officers never think of reducing their own fat salaries, but an effort is always made to reduce the salaries of Firemen and policemen—stopping the leak at the spiggot while the bung stands wide open. We hear this year of sevtral places where there is a proposition to reduce the pay of Firemen. As they are scarcely getting living wages now, any reduction would be a great hardship. It seems to be the impression that no skill is requisite to make a Fireman, and that any common laborer can do the work. Yet if a serious fire occurs, how common it is to charge that the Fire Department is inefficient? It requires long practice and good intelligence to make a man an efficient Fireman. Their seivices should come under the head of skilled labor, which is worth more than common labor. The cut down of the pay of the men below the wages paid to good mechanics is the surest way to demoralize a Department.
LAST week we printed an article from a St. Louis paper which stated that the insurance men of that city were displeased with Chief Sexton, because the late fire spread farther than they thought it ought to have done. I hese insurance men seem to have lost their temper and good sense, for they circulated a petition among themselves asking the Mayor to remove Chief Sextcn. But reflection evidently restored them to their senses, fer they did not present the:r petition to the Mayor, and have concluded net to make war cn the Chief. As we understand it, while at the fire Chief Sexton received an injury to the hand that was broken some months ago, and had to go to a surgeno to have it dressed. The complaint is that while he was absent the fire was permitted to gain headway, because there was no one in command in place of the Chief. If this was true, something was certainly wrong, for the Assistant Engineers of the St, Louis Department are recognized as first-class Firemen, and fully competent to take command when the Chief is absent. It is possible that there are faults of system or of organization in the St. Louis Department; if so they can be readily remedied. But experienced Firemen, competent to command men and appliances in cases of emergencies, are as scarce as good generals on a battle field. Insurance men, looking at the matter from an interested stand point, are scarcely competent critics of a Fire Department, and they should well consider the subject before they organize a revolution, the end of which they cannot see.