Winfield, Kan., and Its Fire Protection.
(From an Occasional Correspondent.)
WINFIELD, KAN., January 2.—This town for its size is one of the poorest equipped for fire protection, as at present situated, that I have ever found. The water-works people and city council are in a wrangle over the quality of water furnished, it being filtered river water, and as a result the council has stopped paying hydrant rental. In turn the company pays no attention to fire alarms, carrying a pressure of but from twenty-five to forty pounds (reservoir pressure); consequently a good fire would have pretty much its own way. It is true, only four alarms have been registered for the past three months, and the outbreaks were readily extinguished, but in three cases it was mere luck, and in the fourth the fire went out for want of material to burn. This state of affairs was continued for some time and the people are getting indignant at both the company and the council.
The fire fighting apparatus consists of two hand hose reels and one hook and ladder truck of antique design. The hose companies are made up of active, fellows and are always on time, but with no water pressure to speak of, and less than 600 feet of available hose, which is too old to be safe, it is an uphill business to tackle much of a fire. Some energetic hose man, with a first-class brand of hose, might drop in and make a sale of some of his wares if he is quick about it, as the last fire evidenced the need of a big purchase in that line.
Winfield has some of the handsomest blocks of stone buildings in the State, among which are the State Home for Imbecile Children and the S. W. M. E. College of Kansas, both of which are large four-story edifices, but without any fire protection worthy of mention, none being obtainable from the city system. This is almost criminal and should be corrected. With a population of 7000 and five railroads, gas, electric light and the finest sawed stone walks in the State, Winfield only needs several good factories to make it a first-class mercantile point. We look to good crops next year to restore confidence and improve the times. W. A.