World’s Fair Protection.
FIREMEN generally are interested in the query: What if fire should break out at the exposition? It is a question that has exercised the deepest thoughts of those in charge of the fair. And it is a question that has been happily solved by the establishment of as thorough a system of fire patrol and engine service as years of experience could devise, and months of laborious drill could perfect. In organizing the fire department of the Columbian guard aid has been summoned from the Chicago City Fire Department, long known as one of the best equipped services of any municipality in the world. The men chosen to command those who protect the White City from conflagrations were at first asked for suggestions, and when made these suggestions were acted upon, until now Jackson park is as perfectly protected as if it were constructed of asbestos.
Although with one exceDtion the buildings are constructed of inflammable material, the chances of fire breaking out are reduced to a minimum. The old adage, “ an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” has been the keynote in organizing the fire department. By a perfect system of patrol and a thoroughly regulated watchman service, it is practically impossible lor fire to gain much headway before it is discovered, and the apparatus for the control of the flames has been placed about the various buildings in such convenient profusion that should any structure become ignited it is almost an impossibility for the flames to obtain headway.
More than 2000 men, twelve engine companies, 3000 Babcock extinguishers and innumerable hose reels, operated from stand-pipes, can now be concentrated upon the spot. Another great prevention is that under the floors of all the buildings runways have been cut and the passages thus made are all fitted up with incandescent lights. These runways diverge to the ends of the buildings, but particularly they follow the lines of the electric light supply. Great care has been taken to have all places where the wires cross exposed to full view. It is from crossing wires that the most danger is apprehended. In consequence all these crossings under the floors are under the strictest surveilance. If fire should break out above the flooring it would be a comparatively easy matter to locate it and put it out.
On the other hand, if fire should ignite under the buildings, more or less trouble would ensue, unless the buildings were divided as systematically as they are. Fire Marshal Murphy devised the present system of underground patrol, which includes electric apparatus for locating the exact position of the fire. Take the great manufactures building, which has thirtyseven acres of cellars. According to Marshal Murphy’s plan the building has been divided into eight compartments. Each of these compartments is patrolled by a watchman, who is a member of the Columbian guard. At each of the four corners of each compartment is a telephone and “pull box ” connected with the telegraphic service in the chief’s office.
The guard is required to make the underground tour of his compartments once each hour, and upon reaching the telephone he must register at the main office. Thus he reports the condition of north, south, east and west sides of his compartment every hour. He has no chance to fall asleep, as the guard upon the floor above is required to be alert and to notice when the main office is notified. Should the guard below discover fire he at once pulls the fire alarm, which registers the number of his compartment and the side—north, south, east or west—where the fire is. The alarm is sounded simultaneously in all of the engine houses, in the fireboat and in the quarters of the Columbian guard. They are required to turn out upon the first alarm.
In order to reach any fire that may occur under the flooring, openings have been cut sixty feet apart all through the building. All these manholes are numbered, and should fire break out the guard would telephone the number of the opening nearest the fire as an additional aid to the department upon its arrival. From these manholes fire in any part of the building can instantly be reached.
But this does not end the duty of the watchman. He must not await the arrival of the firemen, but must instantly begin the work oi fighting the flames. And the tools of the craft are near at hand. More than 2000 Babcock fire extinguishers are in readiness. They are near the manholes, and their location is part of the knowledge that the guards are expected to command. In addition there are stand-pipes and hose reels located 150 feet apart through the buildings. All guards are drilled in the use of them twice a week.
From the stand-pipes, by means of the hose reels, four streams can be concentrated upon each space of 150 feet square. A constant pressure of eighty-five pounds to the square inch is kept up in the stand-pipes from the pumping station, and upon the fire alarm being sounded this pressure is at once raised to 100 pounds per square inch.
In addition to the stand-pipes there are 500 fire hydrants, located about 200 feet apart, all through the grounds and buildings. They are to supply the engines, and in addition runways have been made down to the lagoons, so that the suction pipes can be worked even should the water-works of the Fair and city break down.
D. J. Swenie, chief of the Chicago Fire Department, has general supervision over the fire organization ot the World’s Fair, which is technically known as Battalion No. 14. Chicago Fire Department. E. W. Murphy is in charge at the park, being fire marshal in command of the battalion. He is a man of sixteen years’ experience in the city fire department, during which time he has risen from pipeman to marshal. His first assistant is Captain James Fitzpatrick, who has commanded a fire company, No. 2, located at the service building, and who also is the drill master of the Columbian ward auxiliary of the fire brigade.
Properly speaking, the World’s Fair Fire Department as contained in Battalion No. 14 consists of 112 men. It is divided as follows: One chief of battalion, one senior captain, ten captains, fourteen lieutenants, ten engineers, ten assistant engineers, two pilots (for fire boat), forty-five pipemen, nineteen drivers.
The apparatus now in service consists of eight engines (Ahrens and Amoskeag), two seventy five foot aerial hook and ladder trucks, one Hale water tower, and four chemical engines.
In addition to this equipment for fighting fire from dry land, there is also the fire boat F ire Queen, with a capacity equal to three first class steamers. She is stationed in the lagoon at the north end of the Electricity building, and is under command of Captain T. P. Barry. The Fire Queen is manned by twelve men, is kept constantly under steam, and can render aid in any of the great buildings that face the lagoons, as she draws but four feet of water. She is seventy-five feet long and can be steamed ten miles per hour. Her equipment for fighting flames consists of four two and one-half inch nozzles and one of three and one-half inches. She has also about 3000 feet of hose which is wound upon four reels. The streams from her engines are ‘‘siamesed’’ into one large discharge pipe, to wffiich the nozzles are connected. The Fire Queen lias two upright pumps and one which is placed horizontal to the other two. These nozzles can all be siamesed after leaving the vessel, and by this means can be converted into a standpipe of tremendous power. One of the greatest dependencies of the department in case lire should break out below the flooring is the Breslin nozzle. This is the latest invention in fire extinguishing apparatus, and each fire company has one in its paraphernalia.
They are like a garden sprinkler, except that the water supply is much larger and the force used is many times as great. One of the Breslin nozzles covers with a steady stream a radius of sixty feet. It has three planes of direction, so that one stream goes from it upward, another directly forward at right angles, and the third takes a downward course in an oblique direction. By the use of this invention water can be thrown in all directions. Its greatest benefit is that the firemen ate protected from smoke, as all that is necessary is to poke the nozzle under the flooring and turn on the stream. The rotary motion imparted by the water being forced through the pipe causes a stream to diverge on all sides, covering a space sixty feet square.
According to Marshal Murphy’s estimate it will take $74 112.29 to support the fire department during the period of the Fair. This includes the salaries of the first-class men who compose the actual fire brigade, without the services of the watchmen being included. They belong to the Columbian guard. This sum includes eight engine companies and one fire boat. Each of the companies is composed of twelve men. The engine houses are situated at various points throughout the park, so located as to be concentrated at any point in a very few moments of time.
One engine house is located among the dairy barns in the southern section of the park. It contains a hose cart, a double horse engine of 800 gallons per minute capacity, and has four horses attached to its staff. Engine No. 3 is located on the casino pier, where it is easily accessible to the agricultural building, the casino, and, across the perisyle, it covers the music hall and south end of the manufactures building. Engine house No. 5 is located south of the terminal station. It contains one engine of 800 gallons capacity, one 75-foot hook and ladder truck, one Hale water tower, which may be elevated to a height of eighty feet, and into which may be “ siamesed ” the streams of four engines, and one chemical engine for use in lighter work.
Twenty-nine men are attached to this station, anil there are eleven horses in its service. Engine Company No. 2 is situated in the service building. It is composed of twelve men. one 8oo-gallon steamer, one hose cart and five horses. Marshal Murphy has his office there, and the general telegraphic signals are also concentrated at that point.
The Fire Queen is stationed in the lagoon at the north end of the electricity building. Engine No. 63 of the City Fire Department is located in the northeast section of the manufactures building, where there are twelve men in the company, a hook and ladder, a hose cart and seven horses. Another engine and hose cart are located at Fifty-ninth street and Stony Island avenue. Engine No. 8 is located in the north end of the park in the village of State buildings, and another large company has quarters on Midway Plaisance. This company is composed ol twenty-nine men, who operate cne engine, one hose cart, a hook and ladder and a chemical engine.
As an auxiliary in case the fire should escape the efforts of this formidable department, there are four city fire department stations just outside the park, which could be brought to the scene of action in less than ten minutes. Besides this array of outside talent, Hook and Ladder Company No. 16 is always in readiness to respond to any alarm.
The regular firemen all wear the dark blue uniform of the city fire department. They are perfectly drilled, and are subjected to the same rules as govern the other battalions of the city’s department.
Every man in the Columbian guard is drilled to handle the portable fire apparatus. This drill is compulsory, and in consequence the fire brigadq is augmented by 2000 well trained men in case of emergency. These men operate the portable ladders, the hose stands and the Babcock fire extinguishers, of which there are more than 2000 throughout the park. The fire department has more than 3000 feet of hose, beside the hose reels at the stand-pipes. Each of the domes has two high pressure stand-pipes in it. And there are more than eight hundred stand-pipes and hose reels throughout the buildings.
In the park there are more than thirty-five miles of water mains, from four-inch pipes to the great supply mains, which are thirty-six inches in diameter. In the permanent waterworks there are four Worthington pumps ol a combined capacity of 40,000,000 per twenty-four houts. Should this system fail at any time the city water-works enters the park at Sixty-eighth street, giving 24,000,000 gallons additional. As a last resort water can be drawn from the lagoons with equal All engines can enter the large buildings in case of fire, thus obviating the lass of power to the streams they throw by having to stretch long lines of hose.
There has been some talk in this city during the past week of purchasing Jerome park for a reservoir site. Recently it became .necessary to shut down the Croton aqueduct for four days, and the water in the Central park reservoir fell eleven feet. The city consumes 170,000,000 gallons of water daily, and the old aqueduct and the Bronx water system together only hold about 115,000,000 gallons. The rapid increase ot population in the annexed district has satisfied the aqueduct commissioners that the Bronx water-works system is entirely inadequate for future needs and that it is only a matter of time when a storage reservoir of 2,000,000,000 gallons must be built in that neighborhood. Jerome park is the best adapted site for the purpose, according to the reports of engineers who have studied the ground.