TROY HAS CONFLAGRATION BREEDERS
The engineers of the National Board of Fire Underwriters run up their findings following an examination of the fire hazards at Troy. N. Y., as follows: “In the congested value district, the narrow streets, numerous structural weaknesses and the presence of several conflagration breeders make serious fires probable at several points, especially in the section west of River street; the probability is increased by the inefficiency of the fire department and the absence of fire breaks or barriers, so that, although there is much private protection, there is serious danger of a fire destroying a large section of the district. In the manufacturing district the large plants are mainly protected by sprinklers and there is considerable improved construction, so that only group tires are probable, except in the lumber district south of the congested value district, where a serious flying-brand hazard is evident. In the minor mercantile district, areas are small, heights low, and extensive tires are not probable. The closely built residential sections are mainly brick with incombustible roofs; elsewhere detached frame dwellings present the usual flying-brand hazard.” Troy has a population of 78,000 and covers 9.8 square miles, of which about one-fourth is built upon. The principal business and manufacturing sections extend along the river on a comparatively flat strip of land at an average elevation of 30 feet above sea level. The ground rises abruptly to the east to elevations ranging from 200 to 440 feet. There are many steep grades in the city, one being as high as 22.6 per cent.; long grades range from 6 to 8½ per cent. All fire apparatus has level or downhill runs to the business district. The waterworks are owned by the city. Supervision is under the direction of the commissioner of public works, appointed by tbe mayor for 2-year term; direct management is by the superintendent of the bureau of water, appointed by the commissioner: other employes, except the cashier, are appointed under civil service requirements. Charles F. Crowley was appointed commissioner January 1; John M. Diven, a waterworks engineer of many years’ experience and recognized ability, was appointed superintendent February 1, 1912. The superintendent has charge of design, construction and operation; consulting engineers are employed for work involving special features. Supply is obtained from elevated surface sources by impounding and diversion and distributed by gravity from storage and collecting reservoirs in three services of distribution, with the lowest service partially subdivided and supplied from two reservoirs at slightly different elevations. Elevations within the area supplied range approximately from 10 to 400 feet; those given in this report are referred to city datum, the zero of which is mean low water of the Hudson river. Developed sources consist of portions of the Quacken kill, Deep kill, Piscawan kill and Tomhannock creek and small areas tributary to the distributing reservoirs. Stream flow’s have not been recorded nor conduit capacities determined. As developed, the sources provide for a yield that can be safely depended upon of about 57,000,000 gallons per day; however, the supply available, as limited by conduit capacity and storage available for distribution, is less than 19,000,000 gallons per day. At times it has been necessary to reduce consumption by shutting off one of the low service distributing mains. The Tomhannock creek reservoir, 11 miles northeast of the center of the city, is the main source of supply; the dam is well designed and constructed and ample facilities are provided for taking care of flood flow by concrete spillway, well removed from dam and by concrete covered 60-inch steel emergency outlet through dam. A concrete-lined outlet tunnel, about 5,500 feet long, with area of 26.4 square feet and gates provided at both ends, supplies a 33-inch steel conduit, built in 1905. which extends 35,800 feet, connecting to an old 30-inch cast-iron force main, laid in 1879, which continues 15,600 feet to the Oakwood receiving reservoir. The conduit is well provided with gate valves, blow-offs and air valves; capacity. 12,600,000 gallons per day. A normally closed connection is made to the Deep kill line near the Lansingburg reservoir. On Glen avenue a connection is made with the 24-inch main artery of the low service through two 16-inch presure regulating valves, ordinarily kept closed; a 20-inch branch can be used to supply the low service distributing reservoir and a connection is made to the middle service distributing main through a 20-inch check valve and by-pass. Numerous leaks have developed on the steel section in the past two years, which so far have been successfully plugged without interruption to supply. The Quacken kill diverting dam is located about 10 miles east of the center of the city; the stream flow is increased when required from four storage ponds discharged to creek bed about 6 miles above the dam. A cast-iron supply main, laid in 1901, extends to the Brunswick reservoir; line consists of 29,614 feet of 16-inch and 3,167 feet of 12-inch; capacity, 4,506,000 gallons a day. This supply was ample for the high service during the dry year of 1911; with additional storage provided by the Martin-Dunham reservoir now being built, supply will be in excess of the capacity of the supply main. From the Deep kill diverting dam. a 12-inch cast-iron pipe, laid in 1902, extends 24,250 feet to the Lansingburg intercepter; capacity of line, about 1,000,000 gallons per day. The Lansingburg reservoir have ample overflow facilities; distributing main extends from tower in distributing reservoir, with by-pass from intercepter. The Brunswick, Vanderheyden and 3 Oakwood reservoirs are located along the Piscawan kill; overflow is to brick chambers discharging by creek or tunnel to reservoir below, necessitating extremely careful operation, the reduction of storage at times, and the discharge of surplus water through the distribution system by the use of hydrants and blow-offs. Based, pro rata, upon data available for 1902, the present average daily rate would appear to be in excess of 17,750,000 gallons or 230 gallons per capita. The maximum consumption occurs during the colder periods, but there is a noticeable increase during the summer, at which times the conduit and stre: m capacities supplying the distributing reservoirs are inadequate to meet the demands. In April. 1912, a pressure gage was temporarily installed, replacing one of the others; located at about elevation 40, the static pressure from the low service distributing reservoir should be 73 pounds, but the maximum pressure recorded was 53 pounds and the average during the day was about 40 pounds. Pressures of 25 to 30 pounds are reported for the same locality at times when it has become necessary to conserve supply by shutting off one of the lines leading from the reservoir, and when discharging surplus water from the reservoirs through the distribution system. The low service extends along the river front, the area covered being mainly level and below the 90-foot elevation; the average elevation of the congested value district is about 20. The service is partly divided by closed valves at the dividing line between the former city of Troy and the village of Lansingburg, the two sections being supplied by reservoirs at slightly different elevations. The Troy section includes the congested value, manufacturing, minor mercantile and residential districts and most of the closely built sections of the city. The Lansingburg section is mostly of residential occupancy, with some scattered manufacturing and small mercantile districts. Receiving supply from the Oakwood distributer, elevation 208, two 24-inch mains, one reducing to 20 inches, extend southerly to the congested value district; one of the mains extends well into the southern end of the service. These large mains supply a system of 10 and 12 inch secondary feeders, fairly complete in the important sections, but lacking in some sections; other mains are principally 6-inch. Two 12-inch, an 8-inch between a 16-inch and a 20-inch, and several smaller connections permit supply being augmented from the middle service. A 12-inch main from the Lansingburg distributer, reducing to 10-inch, extends the length of the service, supplying a poorly supported system of 4 to 10 inch mains with numerous dead ends. The middle service covers a narrow area along the side of a hill, with a range of elevation of 60 to 240 feet; occupancy is mixed, but principally residential. Supplied from the Upper Oakwood reservoir or the Tomhannock conduit, a 20-inch, reducing to 16 inches, extends along the service, supplying a few short lengths of 12-inch and some 6 and 8 inch mains. Three 12-inch and several smaller connections permit supply being obtained from the high service. A large hilly section in widely scattered areas, with a range of elevation from 90 to 400 feet; mostly residential, with some scat tered manufacturing and minor mercantile districts From the Vanderheyden reservoir, a single 20-inch main extends about 2 1/2 miles to the service: continuing across a portion of the area, the line reduces to 16 inches, extending well into the southern section of the city; it supplies several 12-inch secondary feeders, and two long branches of the same size extending into outlying districts The minor distributers are 6 and 8 inch, poorly gridironed in the scattered areas supplied. Pipe in the distribution system is cast iron; nearly 15 per cent, has been in service over 30 years and some since 1833; about 20 per cent, of the 93 miles of pipe has been installed in the past 10 years. There are about 1,350 valves in the distributing system, and about 1,100 hydrants. The average linear spacing of hydrants in the congested value district is 160 feet, and the average area served by each is 49,500 square feet. For characteristic sections outside of the congested value district on the high service and the Lansingburg section of the low service, the average linear spacing was found to be 340 and 360 feet and the average area served by a hydrant was 117,000 and 98,000 square feet, respectively. Of th 87 hydrants in and adjacent to the congested value district, all except one have single 4-inch outlet: practically all have 4-inch connection to main, 33 with gate valve control. The flow from hydrants in groups at 20 locations, well distributed throughout the city, was measured in May, 1912, to determine the probable supply available for fire protection purposes. The tests in the congested value district and to the south show that quantities sufficient for good protection cannot be obtained in the major part of. the low service; as shown by the excessive loss in pressure, both under normal conditions and during the test, it is evident that the carrying capacity of the mains is seriously reduced from silting and probably from the result of closed valves. The flows on the middle service were ample. Good quantities could he obtained on the high service, except for the greater part of the section to the south of the Poesten kill. The flows on the Lansingburg section of the low service were deficient in all parts. The discharge from individual hydrants in many tests was less than that necessary to supply a second size fire engine. Since the national board report of 1904, a 24-inch main, reducing to 20 inches, has been extended part way through the high-value district of the low service; additional storage on the Quacken kill has been and is being provided, the Tomhannock dam and supply lines put in service, emergency connections made from the Tomhannock conduit to the low and middle service, and extensions made to the distribution system, mainly in outlying and newly developed sections. These fulfil only a few of the changes recommended.
In February, 1912, a competent official was placed in charge of the works; a plan of the distribution system is well under way, valves are being located and inspected, complete records are to be prepared, measuring devices are to be placed on supply conduits and main arteries, and recording gages installed on the different services. Pitomcter tesis are to be made of the distribution system, and efforts made to increase the efficiency of the works and place their operation on a successful and economical basis. A storm water conduit from above the Oakwood reservoirs and the reinforcement of the high service by extending the 12-inch line on Lake avenue arc contemplated.
THE TROY FIRE DEPARTMENT.
The fire department has a membership of 71 full-paid men and 7 call volunteers under command of Chief Patrick Byron. Battalion Chiefs John W. Wilke, F. H. Rankin and Wm. Bailey, Jr. The expense of maintaining the department last year, including the fire alarm telegraph system, was $104,448, of which $60,800 was for salaries. Chief Byron joined the department as a volunteer in 1859, was made a full-paid member in 1880, and is an experienced officer. The battalion chiefs served as volunteers before appointment to the present office. The chief has little authority, except at fires. He is tinder the direct supervision of the commissioner of public safety, appointed by the mayor for an indefinite term. The commissioner is responsible for discipline and efficiency ; he also has supervision over the bureaus of police, health and buildings and combustibles. John F. Cahill, the present commissioner. is also superintendent of the electrical department of the Troy Gas Co. For fire department purposes, the city is divided into three districts with a battalion chief in command in each. There arc in service 11 engines. 2 hose and 3 ladder companies, in 15 houses One engine company is full paid and one ladder company is part full paid and part call; each of these companies has a captain and a lieutenant The other companies have from 2 to 5 full-paid men assisted by 20 to 115 volunteer members A hand reel has been furnished to a volunteer company in the eastern part of the city. Within the congested value district are two engines, two combination hose wagons and a ladder truck; within a mile of the center of the district are, in addition, I engine, 1 hose and 1 ladder companies, with 5 pieces of chemical apparatus, all having level or downhill runs. All closely built sections of the city have protection within a mile; chemical protection in the North Troy and Albia sections, and ladder protection on the hill are somewhat deficient. The engines in service are of double-pump reciprocating types; several are fitted with rubber tires and all arc equipped with hand and automatic relief valves; only 3 have suction gage, leach engine carries two large hard and one large soft suction. Boilers are kept hot in all engine houses. Ten of the engines were tested by national board engineers in April, 1912, to ascertain their condition and the ability of the crews to operate them. The crews, except in a few instances, showed unfamiliarity in operating to capacity and in the use of the variable exhaust; stoking was mainly unskilful. Three engines showed excessive slip; Nos. 4 and 6 were unable to maintain steam. Valves in general were in good condition. Some of the coal used was of very inferior quality. The trucks in service arc in good condition and of the aerial type; two arc equipped with quick raising device, searchlight and rubber tires. Kach carries 9 to 12 additional ladders, including a 45-foot extension and one with roof hooks; two pompier ladders are carried on one truck. There arc 10 combination and 3 plain wagons, the latter having one-horse hitches; 8 arc equipped with rubber tires, 1 is fitted with a turret pipe with 1 ⅛ to 2 inch tips and all combination wagons have 2 ½inch connections to chemical tanks. They are in generally good condition. Two plain wagons are in reserve. The chief is provided with a rubbertired buggy, in only fair condition. About 27,900 feet of 2 1/2-inch double-jacketed, cotton, rubberlined hose is on hand. All has been pruchased in the last seven years under the usual pressure and service guarantees. It is of well-known makes and is said to be in good condition. After use, hose is washed and dried at the hose supply depots located at stations 3 and 10 and rolled up. The amount on hand allows 2,090 feet per hose wagon,
Water Supply.—Municipal works. Organization has been subjected to political interference; direction recently placed in charge ot a very competent superintendent. Records poor; extensive improvements under way. Gravity supply, from adequately developed sources; main supply conduit a single line, of insufficient capacity with present high consumption, but distributing reservoirs hold over two weeks’ supply. Consumption apparently very excessive: few meters; many large service connections. Pressures fair to poor and poorly maintained. Distribution system in three services; well designed for most of the high value districts, hut of insufficient capacity on account of silt deposits; high service dependent upon single main. Pipe apparently in good state of preservation; electrolytic condition unknown. Valves in poor condition ; spacing exceptionally good. Hydrants of small size; distribution fair to good; poor care and control. Good practical methods of operation to overcome serious neglect of the past are being rapidly applied.
Fire Department.—A part paid and part volunteer force in command of an experienced chief. Financial support fair. Discipline lax; training insufficient. Companies well distributed ; chemical service weak in northern and southeastern districts and ladder service weak on hill. Engines sufficient in number, but several old and others need overhauling; crews generally untrained. Supply of 2 1/2-inch hose adequate; no 3-inch hose. Minor equipment good, except means for the handling of heavy streams. Response to box alarms good in congested value district. Fire methods fair; no salvage work attempted. No inspections Records incomplete.
Mayor John J. Morrison, of New Brunswick, N J., objects to the city paying $1.25 a foot for hose, when hose costing 65 cents a foot has been in service and has given satisfaction, according to the opinion of the chief of the fire department. Accordingly he has returned to common council, unsigned, a resolution directing that hose be purchased from several firms at rates ranging from 65 cents to $1.25 per foot. The veto was laid on the table until the next meeting.