Water Supply at Fires.

Water Supply at Fires.

Thinking that the experience of Lynn during the fire of November 26, 1889, would be of interest to the association,

I take this opportunity to present it. The population of Lynn as given by the census of 1890 was 55,727. Our average daily consumption of water for the year 1889 was 2,450,413, for the week previous to the fire was 2 339,263 gallons. The supply from which we drew was furnished from a reservoir containing at the time the fire broke out 20,510,872 gallons, a Leavitt engine of 5,000,000 daily capacity, which was in operation at that time, and the Marblehead Water Company, which is connected with our works. The reservoir is situated about two miles from the point where the fire started. The ordinary water pressure through the burnt district is from 60 to 70 pounds. The water was supplied from the reservoir and Leavitt engine to the burnt district through one 16 inch and two 12-inch mains. The burnt district was intersected by streets supplied with pipes as follows : one 12-inch, five 10-inch, three 8-inch, four 6-inch, eight 4 inch, provided with 35 hydrants. While it is impossible to give any accurate statement of the number of streams playing at the same time on the fire, the whole number of engines at work was 19, and the amount of water used from 12 M., November 26th, the time the fire started, till 6 P. M., was 2,908,477 gallons ; from 6 P. M. on the 26th to 6 A. M on the 27th, 5,373,282 gallons; from 6 A. M. till 12 M. on the 27th, 2,827,736 gallons; making a total consumption in 24 hours of 11,109,495 gallons. The burning debris required a tarther use of water amounting to 19.376,984 gallons, making a total consumption of 30,486,479 gallons used for all purposes from the commencement of the tire until the consumption of water reached its usual amount. The amount used each 24 hours was: First 24 hours. 11,109,495 gallons; second 24 hours, 7,338,703; third 24 houfcs, 5,3*3-; fourth 24 hours 4,325,621; fifth 24 hours, 2,399,370 gallons. At the commencement of the fire it was so evident that a conflagration would ensue that every effort was made to stop any waste of water. Men were sent out with instructions to shut off the service pipes and fire sprinklers as soon as a building provided with one was well on fire. As far as possible all waste from this source was removed. One 4-inch elevator pipe was broken outside the shut-off, and one 4-inch fire sprinkler was wasting water until 8 and 10 A. M., November 27th, at which time respectively they were shut off. The delay in shutting off these pipes was caused by the bricks from the fallen walls covering the gates. From our experience at this fire it is evident that a city of our population, favorably situated to receive assistance from other cities, is liable to be called upon to furnish a supply of water greatly in excess of the full capacity of its own fire department and equal to four times its ordinary daily consumption. This additional supply may be required for several days. In our case the amount of water stored in the reservoir, together with the constant work of the Leavitt engine, enabled us to supply all water needed without being obliged to start the Deane pump, which could have been added had it become necessary. Although our works could have furnished much more water than we were required to, a Loietz pumping engine of 10,000,000 gallons daily capacity has been substituted in place of the Deane, and we can now pump 15.000 000 gallons per 24 hours should the necessity arise. An additional 20-inch main is now being laid from the reservoir to the centre of the city. When this work is completed, we will be able to supply for 24 hours six times our daily consumption. The loss of water through a 4 inch fire sprinkler from 3 r. M. of the 26th until 10 A. M. of the 27th shows the danger that menaces any water supply should the introduction of fire sprinklers become general. The weakest point in our supply of water for fire purposes is an insufficient number of hydrants in the business portion of the city. _

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