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Full text of "Annual report"

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Given By 
Boston Fire Department 



ANNUAL REPORT 



FIRE DEPARTMENT 

AND WIRE DIVISION 



(MTY OF BOSTON 



YEAH ENDING DECEMBER 31, 1931 






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\S, IB O 3 T© N liV _^/j 



»F BOSTON 
PRINTING DEPARTMENT 



ANNUAL REPORT 



FIRE DEPARTMENT 

AND WIRE DIVISION 



CITY OF BOSTONT 



YEAR ENDIISTG DECEMBER 31, 1931 




CITY OF BOSTON 

PRINTING DEPARTMENT 

1932 






Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2010 with funding from 

Boston Public Library 



http://www.archive.org/details/annualreport1931boston 



OFFICIALS OF THE DEPARTMENT. 



Edward F. McLaughlin, 

Fire Commissioner. 

Herbert J. Hickey, 

Executive Secretary of the Department. 

Henry A. Fox, 

Chief of Department. 

George L. Fickett, 

Superintendent of Fire Alarm Division. 

Walter J. Burke, 

Superintendent of Wire Division. 

Edward E. Williamson, 

Superintendent of Maintenance Division. 

Albert J. Caulfield, 

Deputy Chief in Charge of Fire Prevention Division. 

William J. McNally, M. D., 
Medical Examiner. 



[Document 12 — 1932.] 




ANNUAL REPORT 

OF THE 

FIRE DEPARTMENT 

FOR THE YEAR 1931. 



Boston, March 1, 1932. 

Hon. James M. Curley, 

Mayor of the City of Boston. 
Dear Sir, — I have the honor to submit herewith a 
report of the activities of the Boston Fire Department 
for the year ending December 31, 1931, as required by 
section 24, chapter 4, of the Revised Ordinances of 
1925. 

Fire Loss. 

The total fire loss for 1931 in the City of Boston, 
estimated by the insurance companies, amounted to 
$4,113,419.53. This is $480,203 less than the loss in 
1930. There were thirty-seven fires where the loss 
was over fifteen thousand dollars as compared with 
sixty-five in the previous year. There were only two 
fires showing a loss of over one hundred thousand 
dollars, namely, 

January 31, Eldredge Baker Company et al., 35-37 

Sleeper street $188,794 01 

March 16, Wolpert Shoe Company et at., 76-78 

South street 108,203 13 



2 City Document No. 12. 

During the year the department responded to less 
calls than in 1930. Eight thousand six hundred and 
ninety-four alarms were transmitted to the department 
and were actually responded to. In 1930 the depart- 
ment responded to 8,701 alarms. Of the 8,694 responded 
to last year 4,865 were box alarms and 3,829 were still 
and automatic alarms. There were 911 false alarms 
during the year, an increase of 213 over the previous 
year. 

The reduction in the fire loss of almost half a million 
dollars is noteworthy at this time. According to tra- 
ditions in the fire service the fire loss usually mounts 
during the periods of depression, but the contrary has 
been our experience this year. The present efficient 
condition of the fire fighting force, the vigilance of the 
fire prevention division, and the prosecution of arson 
cases have undoubtedly been instrumental in keeping 
the loss at a lower figure. 

Fire Prevention. 

The personnel of the fire prevention division has been 
diligent in its duties during the past year and the 
work of the inspection division has been under increased 
supervision by the assignment of more superior officers 
to this division. 

During the year all classes of buildings, with the 
exception of one and two family dwellings, were 
inspected. 



Number of inspections (initial) 

Number of reinspections 

Number of complaints reported . . . 
Conditions corrected by personal contact 
Number of personal inspections by officers 

Prevention Division 

Oil burners inspected 

Oil burners reinspected 

Oil burner defects corrected .... 



of 



Fire 



371,405 
13,361 
12,522 

22,767 

2,477 

1,339 

463 

451 



Reports on hazardous conditions were sent to other 
departments as follows: 



To State Fire Marshal 
To Building Department 



120 
3,163 



Fire Department. 



To Health Department 

To Department of School Buildings 
Notices sent to correct hazardous conditions 
Personal services by Constable .... 
Prosecutions for violation of Fire Prevention Laws 



10 

6 

897 

486 

23 



During the Christmas holiday season a detail of 
inspectors was maintained in and about the shopping 
and high value districts and in other locations where 
shopping congestion prevailed. Four officers and thirty- 
four privates were engaged in this service. 

Intensive inspection campaigns were conducted in 
certain sections of the city and in addition daily inspec- 
tion was maintained in several building groups when 
certain hazards and conditions existed. 

In addition to inspections made by Fire Prevention 
inspectors the following number of inspections Mere 
made by District and Company Officers: 

Building inspections . 69,686 

Theatre inspections 3,874 

Schoolhouse inspections 3,871 

Public buildings inspected 914 

Car house inspections . 101 

Inspections at Long and Deer Islands .... 24 
Total number of inspections made by Fire Prevention 

inspectors, district and company officers . . 467,966 

Arson. 

The Massachusetts Legislature by chapter 383 of the 
Acts of 1931 amended the Fire Prevention Act so that 
the Fire Commissioner was authorized to investigate 
the causes of fires in Boston with particular reference 
to suspicious and supposed incendiary fires. Previous 
to this amendment the Fire Commissioner of Boston 
was not allowed to conduct any investigation of a fire 
after it was found that the fire was of suspicious origin. 
This year I went to the Legislature and petitioned for 
authority to conduct investigations of suspicious fires 
in Boston because I felt that a large number of fires 
could be traced to arson and that prompt investigation 
and prosecution might bring about desirable results. 

The Fire Department began to exercise its authority 
under the amendment on June 4, and an arson squad 
of six firemen and four police officers was organized. 
This squad is on duty twenty-four hours a day, stationed 



4 City Document No. 12, 

at Headquarters, and is under the direct supervision of 
Deputy Chief Albert J. Caulfield of the Fire Prevention 
Division. During the year 108 fires were reported 
with suspicious causes and 99 with unknown causes. 
The record of the Arson Squad during the first seven 
months of operation is as follows: 

Number of persons interviewed at Division Office relative 

to suspicious fires 20 

Number of inquests held and one case reopened for new 

evidence 17 

Number of cases submitted to the District Attorney's 

Office for action 12 

Number of inquests held where insufficient evidence was 

obtained for prosecution 5 

Number of cases presented to the Grand Jury by the 

District Attorney 8 

Number of indictments returned (in four cases more than 

one person was indicted) 12 

Number of ''No Bills" returned 1 

Number of persons under indictment awaiting trial . .12 
Number of civilian witnesses summoned to inquests . .114 
Number of department witnesses 102 

The Arson Squad received valuable assistance from 
the Law Department and the chemist of the Public 
Works Department. 

Buildings. 
A new fire station is being erected at the corner of 
K and Fourth streets, South Boston, to provide quarters 
for Engine Company 2 and Ladder Company 19. 
Engine Company 2 is now located at O and Fourth 
streets, and the quarters of Ladder Company 19 are at 
715 East Fourth street. The present quarters of both 
these companies are cramped and' unsuited for the 
needs of the department and the district served by 
them, particularly at Ladder Company 19 where the 
building cannot house the proper apparatus for South 
Boston, and the street is so narrow and the present 
building so constructed that apparatus cannot leave 
without delay. The new building at the new location, 
which will be ready early in 1932, will provide proper 
housing facilities for the men and apparatus in a loca- 
tion which will give both companies a more efficient 
operating radius. 



Fire Department. 5 

Fire Apparatus. 
During the year twenty-eight motor vehicles were 
purchased, tested and placed in service as follows: 

8 American-LaFrance combination hose cars (Booster pumps 

and tanks) . 
1 American-LaFrance rescue squad car with special body. 
1 American-LaFrance city service ladder truck. 
1 American-LaFrance V 12 combination pump and hose car, 

1,000 gallons. 
1 American-LaFrance V 12 combination pump, hose and 

booster car, 750 gallons. 
1 American-LaFrance 85 foot aerial truck. 
1 American-LaFrance tractor. 

1 Re-fueling unit complete. 

9 Hupmobile sedans. 

2 Model A Ford coupes. 

2 Model A Ford roadsters with pick-up bodies. 

Seven reserve hose cars and one school car were sold 
at public auction. Eleven small cars were traded in 
when new cars were purchased. 

The motor equipment of the department, at the 
present time, consists of the following: 



In Service. 



In Reserve. 



Pumping engines 

Steam engines (tractors) . 

Hose cars 

Aerial ladder trucks 

City service trucks 

Water towers 

Chief oflicers' cars 

School car 

Rescue cars 

Fuel cars 

Portable lighting plants . 

Wrecking car 

Motorcycle (fire patrol) . 

Commercial trucks 

Emergency cars (Ford) . . 
Ford coupes 



50 



48 

22 

9 

3 

35 



10 
3 



6 



City Document No. 12. 



High Pressure Service. 
The records of the two high pressure stations for the 
year are as follows: 



station No. 1. 



Station No. 2. 



Total alarms to which pumps responded 

Water discharge recorded on Venturi meters = 



206 
118,000 gallons 



243 
415,500 gallons 



* Owing to the construction of the Venturi meters they do not record flows under 600 
gallons per minute. 



During the year fifty high pressure hydrants were 
placed in service, bringing the total up to 501, and the 
mileage of high pressure mains was increased from 16.8 
miles to 18.45 miles. 

The equipment of High Pressure Station No. 1 was 
transferred from the original location at Battery and 
Commercial streets (Lincoln Power Station of Boston 
Elevated Railway) to a new location at 165 Kneeland 
street (Edison Station of the Edison Electric Illuminating 
Company). The work of moving the equipment to the 
new station commenced September 10, 1931, and was 
completed October 12, 1931. The new station was 
accepted and control commenced by the Fire Depart- 
ment on December 14, 1931. 

Engine 44, ''Angus J. McDonald," was taken out of 
service on December 16, 1931, and placed in storage^ 
having been replaced by a new fireboat. Engine 44, 
''Matthew J. Boyle," on December 8, 1931. 

A special appropriation of $350,000 for this boat was 
provided by Your Honor in 1930. The contract for 
the construction of the boat, at a cost of $327,825, was 
awarded to George Lawley & Sons Corporation of 
Boston, and the keel was laid January 29, 1931. The 
boat was launched May 23, 1931. Trial tests were 
held on November 15, 1931, and the boat was placed in 
service December 8, 1931. The total cost of the boat, 
including architect's fees, was $349,504.20. 

This rugged steel constructed boat, with a pumping 
capacity of 12,000 gallons per minute at 150 pounds 
pressure, is designed to operate at full capacity for 
forty-eight hours without replenishing. Length, overall, 
125 feet; beam, over guards, is 29 feet 6 inches; gross 
tonnage, 338.91 tons. The loaded draft is limited to 




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FiEE Department. 7 

10 feet 6 inches, and the boat has a speed of 12 knots 
per hour. The general dimensions of the boat have 
been determined to meet most effectively the particular 
conditions prevalent at the Port of Boston. 

The steam for propulsion and for fire fighting is 
generated by two Babcock and Willcox water tube 
boilers, built for a working pressure of 250 pounds 
per square inch and fired by eight Todd oil burners. 
The boat will be propelled by a vertical, direct-acting, 
compound, condensing engine of approximately 1,100 
horse power. There are four turbine-driven, two-stage 
centrifugal Dean Hill fire pumps. 

The water from the pumps is handled through seven 
3,000-gallon monitors or guns, one of which is mounted 
on a steel tower 30 feet above the water. There are 
also twenty 3^-inch hydrant connections on the deck 
house, from which hose lines can be run either to rail 
guns or to points on shore. 

Hydrants. 
The following is a list of the hydrants in service for 
fire purpose, as of December 31, 1931, showing the 
number and different types of same: 



Public. 



Private. 



Ordinary post 

Boston post 

Lowry 

Boston Lowry 

Batchelder and Finneran post. 

Boston 

High pressure 

Chapman post 

Ludlow post 

Matthew post 

Coffin post 



3,718 

2,618 

810 

367 

3,295 

120 

501 

77 

4 



Totals. 



11,511 



131 

22: 

33; 

5 

5 

111 

55 
13 
4 



Fire College. 
After several months of study and preparation by a 
special committee a Fire College was organized in the 
department, and opened on November 30, 1931, with a 



8 City Document No. 12. 

comprehensive course of lectures and demonstrations in 
fire fighting and fire protection. This college was 
established with a view to improving the morale and 
efficiency of the department, and in order that the 
officers and men be taught a systematic and uniform 
method of operation at fires, and be provided with a 
technical knowledge necessary to their work, a course 
of twenty-seven lectures and demonstrations was pre- 
pared, some of which required the time of two or three 
days. The lecturers at the college comprised officers of 
the department and experts in various insurance lines, 
public service corporations, building construction and 
water service. 

Forty officers from the Boston Fire Department and 
thirteen officers from outside departments attended the 
first session of the college. These officers are obliged to 
attend the college on their own time as well as while 
on duty. So many requests were received from depart- 
ments outside the city that it became necessary to limit 
the number of applicants. As soon as the first session is 
completed another session will be started, and this will 
be repeated until all officers and members have had an 
opportunity to attend the college. 

Mutual Aid. 
The department responded to sixty-one (61) alarms 
of fire outside of the city limits as follows : 



Milton 












39 


Somerville 












14 


Newton 












3 


Brookline 












2 


Revere 












1 


Saugus 












1 


Salem . 












1 



FIRE ALARM SERVICE. 

The fire alarm service of the department has been 
maintained at its usual high standard. 

In order to improve "Mutual Aid" service between 
Boston and the adjoining cities and towns, special 
circuits were made between fire alarm headquarters in 
Boston and the central fire station in Chelsea and the 
fire alarm offices in Somerville, Cambridge and Brook- 
line. Tapper service was also extended in underground 
cables from the Boston line to Newton Fire Headquarters. 



Fire Department. 9 

Alarms are transmitted both ways on these circuits 
and devices are connected into these circuits making it 
possible for instant telephone communication thereby 
eliminating the possibilities of uncertainties and mis- 
understandings. 

Approximately 7,000 feet of ducts were laid under- 
ground and over 53,000 feet of cable were hauled into 
underground ducts, 24,000 feet for extension of service, 
17,000 feet to replace smaller sizes with larger cables 
and 12,000 feet to replace cable which was defective. 
Thirty-one box posts were installed, eight were relocated 
and ten broken posts were replaced. Of the forty fire 
alarm boxes installed, thirty-five were placed on streets 
by the department, two were installed by the Depart- 
ment of School Buildings, and three are on private 
property. Six boxes were relocated and five were 
removed from service. All boxes and posts were 
painted. 

Oferatiivg Records. 

First alarms . 4,865 

Second alarms . 75 

Third alarms 18 

Fourth alarms 1 



Total 4,959 

Box Alarms Received but not Transmitted. 

Same box received two or more times for same fire . 408 

Adjacent boxes received for same fire .... 287 

Received from boxes but treated as stills ... 10 

Total 705 

Still Alarms Received and Transmitted. 

Received from citizens by telephone .... 2,737 

Received from Police Department by telephone . . 210 

Received from Fire Department stations . . . 1,186 

Received from boxes but treated as stills ... 10 
Mutual aid alarms (adjacent cities and towns) treated 

as stills 61 

Emergency service treated as stills .... 146 



Total 4,350 

Still alarms received by telephone for which box 

alarms were afterwards received and transmitted . 346 



10 City Document No. 12. 

Still alarms received by telephone for which box 
alarms, not received, were transmitted (11 p. m. 
to 7 a. m.) . 328 

Automatic and A. D. T. Alarms. 
Boston Automatic Fire Alarm Company: 

Transmitted by company to this department . . 136 

Box alarms received and transmitted after auto- 
matic alarms had been struck .... 3 

Box alarms, not received, but transmitted, after 
automatic alarm had been struck (11 p. m. to 
7 a. m.) . . 19 

Automatic alarms received at fire alarm office but 

not transmitted 11 

American District Telegraph Company : 

Transmitted by company to this department . . 114 

Box alarms received and transmitted after A. D. T. 

alarms had been struck 5 

Box alarms not received but transmitted after 
A. D. T. alarms had been struck (11 p. m. to 
7 a. m.) 44 

A. D. T. alarms received at fire alarm office but not 

transmitted 15 

Summary of Alarms. 
Alarms received: 

Box alarms, including multiples 5,664 

Still alarms, all classes . . . . . . . 4,350 

Boston automatic alarms 136 

A. D. T. alarms 114 

Total received from all sources .... 10,264 

Exclude following 

Multiples 94 

Box alarms received but not transmitted . . . 705 
Still alarms for which other alarms were trans- 
mitted 674 

Automatic alarms for which other alarms were trans- 
mitted 33 

A. D. T. alarms for which other alarms were trans- 
mitted 64 



1,570 

Total alarms, with eliminations, to which apparatus 

responded 8,694 

Multiple Alarm Fires. 

With two alarms 56 

With three alarms 17 

With four alarms 1 



Fire Department. 



11 



Fire Alarm Box Records. 
Boxes from which no alarms were received . 

Box tests and inspections 

Note. — All street box doors are tested weekly. 

Fire Alarm Boxes in Service. 

Total number 

Owned by Fire Department 

Owned by School Buildings Department 

Owned by Boston Automatic Fire Alarm Company 

Privately owned 

Fire Alarm Boxes in Districts. 



District 1 . . . 92 

District 2 . . . 74 

Districts ... 45 

District 4 ... 86 

District 5 . . . 75 

District 6 ... 102 

District 7 ... 106 

Districts . . .128 

Division 1 . . . . 

Division 2 . . . . 
Division 3 
And one box in Chelsea. 



District 9 
District 10 
District 11 
District 12 
District 13 
District 14 
District 15 



Summary of Work Done in 1931. 



464 
10,611 



1,609 
1,150 

257 
52 

150 



108 
129 
145 
104 
157 
137 
120 

372 
481 
755 



Approximate 
Number of Feet. 



Line wire used in new work 
Line wire used for replacements 
Line wire removed from service 
Aerial cable installed .... 

Conductors in same 

Aerial cable removed from service 

Conductors in same 

Underground cable installed (extensions) 

Conductors in same 

Underground cable replaced . 

Conductors in same 

Conduits laid underground 

Ducts in same 

Ducts abandoned 

Manholes built 

Handholes built 

Fire alarm boxes installed by this department 

Fire alarm boxes installed by School Buildings 

Department 

Fire alarm boxes installed on private property 
Fire alarm boxes relocated . . • . 



33,890 
30,160 
27,025 

2,280 

4,560 

1,300 

4,400 

23,944 

146,125 

29,169 

800,020 

6,847 



,001 

,175 

5 

6 

35 

2 
3 
6 



12 City Document No. 12. 

Fire alarm boxes removed from service 

Box posts installed 

Box posts relocated 

Box posts reset or replaced by new 
Cable posts installed .... 

Cable posts relocated .... 
Cable posts replaced by new . 
Underground cable boxes attached to poles 
Underground cable boxes removed from service 



5 
31 

8 

10 

3 

2 

2 

13 

14 



WIRE DIVISION. 

Regular inspections were made of the permanent 
installations of all theatres, places of amusement, and 
public halls, together with new installations and changes 
throughout the city. In addition, three inspectors were 
assigned to the inspection of old work with good results 
as in a great many cases, necessary changes were 
required, in the interests of safety and the requirements 
of the department were complied with. 

Thorough investigations were made of all fires and 
accidents due to electrical causes and reports of the 
same are on file. 

During the year there were one hundred and thirty- 
one fires reported as due to electrical causes, eighteen 
of which were found not due to electricity, and five 
either undetermined or in radio. There were seven 
manhole explosions; five pole fires and sixteen accidents, 
one of which was fatal. 

The following is a table showing a summary of work 
done by the interior division: 

Notices of new work received 17,951 

Number of permits issued to turn on current . 13,642 

Number of incandescent lamps inspected . . 2,265,930 

Number of motor inspected 17,659 

Number of buildings in which wiring was com- 
pletely inspected 3,311 

Number of inspections made 31,233 

Number of inspections made of theatres, places 

of amusement and public halls .... 1,658 

Income from permits to perform electrical work, $57,980.82 

Exterior Division. 
The underground district for the year 1931 as pre- 
scribed under authority of chapter 240 of the Acts of 
1926, comprised the following streets: 

Dorchester. — Joseph street, from Welles avenue to Brent 
street; Sydney street, from Crescent avenue to Savin Hill 



Fire Department. 13 

avenue; Winter street, from Bowdoin street to Adams street; 
Church street, from Adams street to High street; Pierce 
avenue, from Adams street to Plain street; Neponset avenue, 
from King square to the Neponset Bridge. 

Roxbury. — Worthington street, from Longwood avenue to 
the Fenway; St. Alphonsus street, from Ward street to Calumet 
street; Fenwood road, from Huntington avenue to Brookline 
avenue. 

West Roxbury. — Woodlawn street, from Hyde Park avenue 
to Forest Hills Cemetery. 

South Boston. — Summer street, from East First street to 
East Second street; L street, from East Second street to 
Broadway; West Third street, from West Second street, a 
distance of 2,025 feet to a point 100 feet east of the east line 
of D street, making a total distance of four miles as provided 
by law. 

In these prescribed streets from which poles and 
overhead wires were to be removed, there were standing 
on January 1, 1931, a total of two hundred and five 
(205) poles (not including the trolley poles of the Boston 
Elevated Railway which are exempt) owned by the 
Edison Electric Illuminating Company, New England 
Telephone and Telegraph Company, supporting a total 
of six hundred and thirty-eight thousand nine hundred 
(638,900) feet of overhead wires owned by the Edison 
Electric Illuminating Company, New England Tele- 
phone and Telegraph Company, Boston Elevated Rail- 
way, Eastern Massachusetts Street Railway, Boston 
Fire Department (Fire Alarm Branch) and Boston Police 
Department (Pohce Signal Service). 

During the past year the inspectors of this division 
have reported ninety-eight (98) poles decayed at base 
and sixteen (16) poles leaning, or a total of one hundred 
and fourteen (114) poles, which were replaced by new 
poles or reset by the various companies at the request 
of this department. 

The following table shows the overhead work for the 
year from January 1, 1931, to December 31, 1931, 
inclusive : 

Number of poles in new locations .... 151 

Number of poles replaced, reset or straightened, 607 

Number of poles removed 246 

Number of poles now standing in the public 

streets 17,924 

Number of defects reported 1,028 

Number of defects corrected 801 

(Other defects in process of correction.) 

Number of notices of overhead construction . 6,542 



14 



City Document No. 12. 



Number of overhead inspections . . . . 20,801 

Number of overhead reports 7,179 

Amount of overhead wires removed by owners 

(in feet) 2,211,979 

Underground Construction. 
The ducts used for the underground conduits of the 
drawing-in system are of the following type: 

1. Vitrified clay (laid in concrete). 

2. Fiber (laid in concrete) . 

3. Iron. 

4. Wood. 

In side or residential streets special underground 
construction for electric light and power purposes (110 
and 220 volts), of the type known as ''Split Fiber Solid 
Main System/' has also been installed. 

The electrical approvals for underground electrical 

construction numbered . . . . . 2,868 

Number of inspections of underground electrical 

construction 8,660 

Number of reports of underground electrical 

construction 2,656 

Table Showing Underground Work for the Year 1931. 



Company. 


d 

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3 

Q 
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(P 


O 




t-i o 

fE 


Boston Elevated Railway 

Boston Consolidated Gas Com- 
pany. 

Edison Electric Illuminating Com- 
pany. 

Boston Fire Department (Fire 
Alarm Branch). 

Boston Police Department (Police 
Signal Service). 

School Buildings Department 

Boston Low Tension Wire Asso- 
ciation. 

New England Telephone and 
Telegraph Company. 

Western Union Telegraph Com- 
pany. 


4,356 
657 

59,860 

4,436 

556 

500 
44 

10,520 

199 


17,086 
4,815 

649,468 

4,436 

556 

496 
44 

37,454 

398 


43,112 
37,582 

1,397,095 

40,980 

39,296 


11 
1 

317 
5 

1 
11 


37 

2,102 

33 

10 

3 


155,849 
2,157 


24 


Totals . . . 


81,128 


714,753 


1,716,071 


346 


2,209 







Note. — "Split Fiber Solid Main System," of the Edison Electric niuminating Com- 
pany is included in the above figtires, comprising 3,897 feet of conduit and 7,681 feet of 
duct. 



Fire Department, 



15 



Table Showing the Amount and Distribution of Boston's Electrical Power, 

December 31, 1931. 



C0MP.\NY. 


-sis 

K go 
|«o 


1^ 

o3 „ M 


Capacity of 
Incandescent 
Lamps 
in Kilowatts. 


03 (H ^ 

o 


C3 O 
^ O 


o 
:St3 . 


"o 2 
a ° 

is 




35,320 
54,424 


222,570 
292,816 


4,305 
* 

3,000 
125 
140 


15 

* 


353,353 

6,000 

106 

75 


84,800 

* 

2,000 
215 


21 


Edison Electric Illuminating Company, 


66 


Quaker Building Company 


620 
500 


400 
360 


1 
1 






Totals 


90,864 


516,146 


7,570 


15 


359,534 


87,015 


91 







'Unknown. (Meter capacity connected to lines of Edison system 1,129,520 kilowatts.), 



Recommendations. 

1. During the past two years I have made an 
exhaustive study of the fires and their causes in this 
city, particularly since the passage of legislation author- 
izing the Fire Commissioner to investigate and institute 
criminal proceedings in case of supposed incendiary 
fires. This study made at various angles always led 
to one conclusion, namely, that the crime of arson is 
more prevalent in this community than many familiar 
with the situation in this city are willing to admit. 
A thorough, consistent and careful investigation of all 
fires presents the most convincing evidence that the 
majority of fires are not accidental. The Fire Preven- 
tion Division and Arson Squad are exercising the 
greatest vigilance possible for the purpose of exposing 
arson and punishing those responsible for it. I strongly 
recommend a continuance of this policy and that every- 
thing be done to encourage and enlarge this particular 
activity. 

2. The fire stations of the department are being 
maintained in the best possible condition, yet there are 
a few which should be rebuilt and relocated when the 
financial condition of the city will permit. 

The first location which should be considered is the 
station at Longwood and Brookline avenues. This 
building is old, unsuited for a. modern fire station, and 
is in a location where it cannot give the greatest measure 
of service to the city. The erection of a new fire sta- 
tion at a location nearer the schools, hospitals, and 



16 City Document No. 12. 

residences in the Roxbury district should replace the 
present building at Longwood and Brookline avenues. 

Other locations which should receive consideration 
when the opportunity presents itself are the following: 

Engine 3 and Ladder 3, now located at the corner of 
Bristol street and Harrison avenue, should be rebuilt 
and relocated somewhere in the vicinity of Harrison 
avenue and Wareham street. Engine 23 on Northamp- 
ton street could be included in this project. 

Engine 8 and Ladder 1. — The former is located on 
Salem street, a very narrow, congested street. Ladder 1 
is an old station on Friend street. The property occu- 
pied by Ladder 1 will probably be needed in connection 
with the new East Boston Traffic Tunnel development. 
A new house for both companies somewhere on Hanover 
street would serve the district more effectively. 

Engine 16 and Ladder 6, now on River street, Dor- 
chester Lower Mills, should be relocated somewhere in 
the vicinity of Gallivan Boulevard and Codman street. 

Engine 20 and Ladder 27, now at Walnut street near 
Neponset Bridge, should be relocated in the vicinity of 
Neponset avenue and Victory road. 

Engine 25 and Ladder Company 8, at Fort Hill square, 
should receive consideration when funds are available 
for rebuilding. 

A few of the older stations are in good locations but 
should be remodeled to provide proper accommodations 
for the men and apparatus. Among these are Engine 13, 
Engine 22, Engine 24, and Ladder 9. 

A very important matter which will require considera- 
tion within a short time is the enlargement of the repair 
shop of the Maintenance Division so that the depart- 
ment will have sufficient space for the storage of reserve 
apparatus and to give more efficient service in the re- 
placement of disabled apparatus. 

In the Fire Alarm Division the practice of replacing 
a specified number of old fire alarm boxes with boxes 
of the latest type should be continued. The policy of 
furnishing an up-to-date, fool-proof signal system is 
most essential in order that the Fire Department may 
receive prompt notice of fires. 

Respectfully submitted, 

Edward F. McLaughlin, 

Fire Commissioner. 



Fire Department. 



17 



RECAPITULATION OF EXPENDITURES 1931. 

Fire Department .... $4,620,818 60 

Wire Division 102,351 50 

New Fireboat 269,929 35 

New Fire Station, South Boston 
District ...... 138,313 83 



),131,413 28 



INCOME. 

Permits for fires in open spaces, fireworks, 
blasting, transportation and storage of ex- 
plosives, garage and gasolene storage, etc. 

Sale of old material (condemned hose) 

Sale of old material (junk) .... 

Sale of badges 

Property damage (door-cable) . . 

Property damage (fire alarm boxes and posts) 

Property damage (fire apparatus) . 

For labor performed by this department in Janu 
ary, 1931 

For refund on cable reels in February . 

For sale of miscellaneous items, beds, stove, lan- 
tern, frames, old grinding valve machine, auto 
winter inclosure, etc. 



Wire Division: 

Income from permits to perform electrical 
work 





$20,404 25 




270 52 




1,175 83 




524 00 




126 66 




883 32 




362 20 




182 96 




9 80 



13 00 



,952 54 
57,980 82 



$81,933 36 



18 City Document No. 12. 



CHIEF OF DEPARTMENT. 
Henry A. Fox. 
The chief is in charge of the fire protection of the 
city, which is divided into three divisions, each com- 
manded by a deputy chief, which are subdivided into 
fifteen districts, each commanded by a district chief. 

Assistant Chief of Department, Henry J. Power. 

Division 1. 
Deputy Chief, John J. Kelley. 
Headquarters, Ladder House 8, Fort Hill Square. 
This division comprises Districts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. 

District 1. 
District Chiefs, Thomas E. Conroy and Napeen 

BOUTILIER. 

Headquarters, Ladder House 2, Paris Street, 
East Boston. 
Apparatus Located in the District. — Engines 5, 9, 11,. 
40, 47 (fireboat), Ladders 2, 21, 31. 

District 2. 
District Chiefs, Philip A. Tague and Thomas F. 

Ward. 
Headquarters, Engine House 50, Winthrop Street, 

Charlestown. 
Apparatus Located in the District. — Engines 27, 32, 36, 
50, Ladders 9, 22, Rescue 3. 

District 3. 
District Chiefs, John J. Kenney and John F. Good. 

Headquarters, Ladder House 18, Pittsburgh Street. 

Apparatus Located in the District. — ■ Engines 25, 38, 
39, 44 (fireboat). Ladders 8, 18, Water Towers 1 and 3. 

District 4- 
District Chiefs, Avery B. Howard and John F. 

McDONOUGH. 

Headquarters, Engine House 4, Bulfinch Street. 
Apparatus Located in the District. — Engines 4, 6, 8, 
31 (fireboat). Ladders 1, 24. 



Fire Department. 19 

District 5.. 
District Chiefs, John F. Watson and Dennis J. 

COUGHLIN. 

Headquarters, Engine House 26-35, Broadway. 
Apparatus Located in the District. — Engines 7, 10, 26, 
35, Ladder 17, Rescue 1, Water Tower 2. 

Division 2. 
Deputy Chiefs, Thomas H. Downey and William F.. 

QUIGLEY. 

Headquarters, Engine House 22, Warren Avenue. 
This division comprises Districts 6, 7, 8, 11. 

District 6. 

District Chiefs, Michael J. Teehan and Edward G. 

Chamberlain. 

Headquarters, Engine House 1, Dorchester Street, 

South Boston. 

Apparatus Located in the District. — Engines 1, 2, 15,., 
43, Ladders 5, 19, 20. 

District 7. 

District Chiefs, Michael F, Minehan and 

Samuel J. Pope. 

Headquarters, Engine House 22, Warren Avenue. 

Apparatus Located in the District. — Engines 3, 22, 33,, 

Ladders 3, 13, 15. 

District 8. 
District Chiefs, Louis C. Stickel and Daniel Martell. 
Headquarters, Ladder House 12, Tremont Street. 
Apparatus Located in the District. — Engines 13, 14, 
37, Ladders 12, 26. 

District 11. 
District Chiefs, Thomas H. Andreoli and Cornelius J. 

O'Brien. 
Headquarters, Engine House 41, Harvard Avenue, 

Brighton. 
Apparatus Located in the District. — Engines 29, 34, 41,, 
51, Ladders 11, 14. 



20 City Document No. 12. 

Division 3. 

Deputy Chiefs, Walter M. McLean and Frank A. 

Sweeney. 

Headquarters, Ladder House 23, Washington Street, 

Grove Hall. 

This division comprises Districts 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15. 

District 9. 

District Chiefs, William H. McCorkle and Edward 

J. Locke. 
Headquarters, Engine House 12, Dudley Street. 
Apparatus Located in the District. — Engines 12, 23, 24, 
Ladders 4, 23, Rescue 2. 

District 10. 

District Chiefs, Francis J. Jordan and Charles H. 

Long. 

Headquarters, Engine House 17, Parish Street, 

Meeting House Hill. 

Apparatus Located in the District. — Engines 17, 18, 21, 
Ladder 7. 

District 12. 

District Chiefs, Timothy F. Donovan and Joseph W. 

Shea. 
Headquarters, Engine House, 28 Centre Street, 
Jamaica Plain. 
Apparatus Located in the District. — Engines 28, 42, 
53, Ladders 10, 30. 

District IS. 

District Chiefs, Charles A. Donohoe and Patrick 

J. Y. Kelley. 

Headquarters, Engine House 45, Corner Washington 

and Poplar Streets, Roslindale. 
Apparatus Located in the District. — Engines 30, 45, 
Ladders 16, 25. 

District Ill- 
District Chiefs, James Mahoney and James F. Ryan. 
Headquarters, Engine House 46, Peabody Square, 
Dorchester. 

Apparatus Located in the District. — Engines 16, 20, 
46, 52, Ladders 6, 27, 29. 



Fire Department. 



21 



District IS. 
District Chiefs, John P. Murray and Michael D. 

Sullivan. 
Headquarters, Engine House 48, Corner Harvard 

Avenue and Winthrop Street, Hyde Park. 
Apparatus Located in the District. — Engines 19, 48, 
49, Ladder 28. 

Alarms. 

Building fires 3,708 

893 
357 
106 
129 
899 
488 
911 
224 
735 
143 
18 
50 



Automobile fires 

Rubbish, vacant lot 

Rubbish near buildin 

Dump . 

Brush or grass . 

Other outdoor fires 

False . 

Accidental 

Needless 

Rescue 

Marine 

Out of city calls 



g 















Total alarms 



8,661 



Fires in Buildings. 

Construction of Buildings. 



Fire resistive 
Second class 
Frame . 
Other types 



Basement . 
First floor . 
Second floor 
Third floor . 
Above third floor 
Roof . 
Outside 



Point of Origin. 



Extent of Fire. 
Confined to point of origin 
Confined to building 
Spread to other buildings 



379 

1,804 

1,522 

3 

3,708 

1,025 
1,042 
574 
386 
193 
158 
330 

3,708 

2,599 
1,027 

82 



3,708 



22 



City Document No. 12. 



Causes of Fires in Building 
Chimneys, soot burning . 
Defective chimney 
Sparks from chimney 
Defectively installed heater 
Rubbish near heater . 
Hot ashes .... 
Fuel oil burners . 

Starting fires — kerosene or gasolene 
Careless smoking 
Children and matches 
Other careless use of matches 
Defective wiring 
Electric appliances and motors 
Home dry cleaning . 
Flammable liquids near flame 
Kerosene lamps, stoves . 
Grease, food on stove 
Clothes, furniture too near fire 
Spontaneous ignition 
Fireworks .... 
Thawing water pipes 
Sparks from machines 
City gas and appliances . 
Miscellaneous known causes 
Incendiary or suspicious . 
Unknown .... 



420 

59 

126 

105 

7 

71 

79 

10 

931 

147 

288 

120 

145 

6 

39 

94 

114 

87 

123 

27 

13 

6 

14 

301 

158 

218 



Total 



3,708 



Fire Department. 



23 




24 



City Document No. 12. 



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26 



City Document No. 12. 



Causes of Fiees and Alarms, from January 1, 
1931, TO January 1, 1932. 



Automobile 


893 


Rubbish, vacant lot 


357 


Rubbish, near building . . . 


106 


Dump 


129 


Brush or grass 


899 


Other outdoor fires 


488 


False 


911 


Accidental 


224 


Needless bell and still .... 


735 


Rescue 


143 


Marine 


18 


Out of city calls 


50 


Chimneys, soot burning. . . 


420 


Defective chimney 


59 


Sparks from chimney 


126 


Defectively installed heater, 


105 


Rubbish near heater 


7 


Hot ashes 


71 


Fuel oil burners 


79 


Starting fires (kerosene or 




gasolene) 


10 


Careless smoking 


931 


Children and matches .... 


147 



Other careless use of 

matches 288 

Defective wiring 120 

Electric appliances and 

motors 145 

Home dry cleaning 6 

Flammable liquids near 

^ flame 39 

Kerosene lamps, stoves ... 94 

Grease, food on stove .... 114 
Clothes, furniture too near 

fire 87 

Spontaneous ignition 123 

Fireworks 27 

Thawing water pipes 13 

Sparks from machines .... 6 

City gas and appliances. . 14 
Miscellaneous known 

causes 301 

Incendiary or suspicious . . 158 

Unknown 218 

Total 8,661 





Fires Extinguished By 




1-4 


a 
O 




e 


i 

03 


3 




















1931. 


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a 


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O 

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a. 
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§ 


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M 


o 


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PM 


§ 


o 




64 


28 


154 


15 


30 


34 


16 




70 


39 


101 


34 


43 


44 


6 




81 
51 
51 
39 
53 
33 


23 
32 
21 
34 
34 
20 


120 
159 
108 

86 
106 

81 


40 
46 
24 
26 
21 
13 


24 
23 
30 
19 
28 
33 


23 
38 
30 
30 
23 
24 


14 




16 




23 




19 


July . 


17 




16 




34 


27 


90 


13 


SO 


23 


17 




43 
55 
67 


21 
21 
25 


134 

153 
170 


19 
10 
29 


34 
41 
50 


29 

28 
53 


22 




20 




30 






Totals 


641 


325 


1,462 


290 


395 


379 


216 







Fire Department. 



27 



Fires Where Losses Exceeded $15,000. 



Date. 


Location and Owner. 


Loss. 




1931. 






Jan. 


20 


126-138 High street, G. A. Armstrong, Inc., et al 


$85,246 66 


Jan. 


27 


33 Lakeville place, Ella C. Adams et al 


15,692 83 


Jan. 


28 


118-122 Main street, Charlestown Furniture Company 
et al. 


18,328 52 


Jan. 


29 


155-165 Hanover street, Luna Restaurant Company 
etal. 


15,439 92 


Jan. 


31 


35 and 37 Sleeper street, Eldridge Baker & Co. et al 


188,794 01 


Feb. 


5 


277 and 279 Northern avenue, Broomfield Manufactur- 
ing Company et al. 


19,714 36 


Feb. 


6 


969-985 Bennington street, Orient Gardens Theatre 
et al. 


79,421 65. 


Feb. 


7 


2-10 Tremont street. Victory Knitwear Stores et al. . . . 


20,319 10 


Feb. 


8 


41 and 43 Chelsea street, J. P. Coppleman etal 


33,893 18 


Feb. 


10 


74 West Second street, National Outlet Manufacturing 
Company et al. 


20,767 21 


Feb. 


12 


20-24 Newbury street, Elizabeth Arden Beauty Parlor 
et al. 


27,088 07 


Feb. 


15 


24 Wellington Hill street, C. Cohen etal 


15,044 09 


March 8 


43 and 45 Kingston street, Hennessy and Lippa et al. . . 


20,609 34 


March 16 


76-86 South street, Wolpert Shoe Company, Inc., et al.. 


108,203 13 


March 23 


108 and 110 Winthrop street, L. Goldstein etal 


15,377 58. 


March 23 


1337-1357 Washington street. Old Colony Furniture 
Company et al. 


73,689 69 


April 


19 


367-371 Broadway, Harvard Shoe Company et al 


23,313 02 


May 


2 


751 and 753 Shawmut avenue, A. Berkman et al 


20,637 96 


May 


5 


120 Business street. Atlas Garment Company et al 


17,704 00 


May 


20 


80-84 Pearl street, Wetmore Savage Company 


89,920 09 


June 


19 


76 and 78 Pearl street, Wetmore Savage Company 


22,156 78 


June 


21 


32 Brookledge street, P. H. Frank etal 


24,017 00 


Aug. 


8 


26 Portland street, F. and W. Lighting Company et al. . 


16,751 43 


Aug. 


15 

29 


10 Esmond street, J. Salvo et al . 


17,048 60 


Aug. 


449 and 451 Washington street, Touraine Glove Com- 
pany et al. 


21,326 15 


Sept. 


10 


1024 and 1026 Boylston street, Fenway Furniture 
Shoppe et al. 


16,345 35 


Sept. 


13 


12 Kilsyth terrace, P. Caputo 


31,921 18 


Sept. 


19 


93 Cummings street, Daly Plumbing Supply Company, 


56,384 00 


Sept. 


23 


133 and 135 Essex street. Bay State Silk Company 
etal. 


21,370 96 


Oct. 


25 


540-544 East Broadway, M. J. Perkins Post No. 67, 
American Legion et al. 


18,859 80 


Oct. 


26........ 


364-370 Boylston street, Plotkin Brothers etal 


21,238 74: 



28 



City Document No. 12. 

Fire Losses. — Concluded. 



Date. 


Location and Owner. 


Loss. 


Nov. 
Nov. 
Dee. 


193!. 

17 

23 

16 

24 

25 

27 


12-16 Bromfield street, 

1610-1622 Blue Hill a 

etal. 
427 East Eighth street, 

126-144 Commercial 

et al. 
6-14 Portland street, P 

7 Howland street, Mrs 


Collins & Fairbanks et al 

venue, W. T. Grant Company- 


$28,121 22 
94,187 81 
56,236 00 


Dec. 
Dec. 


street, S. G. Shaghalion, 


Inc., 


15,316 05 
19,887 76 


Dec. 


S. Berkwitz et a^ 




16,750 70 











Statistics. 
Population, January 1, 1932 (estimated) 
Area, square miles 
Number brick, etc., buildings 
Number wooden buildings 
Fires in brick, etc., buildings 
Fires in wooden buildings 
Fires out of city 
Not in buildings, false and needless 

Total alarms .... 





786,976 




47.81 




43,527 




93,197 


2,186 




1,522 




50 




4,903 





8,661 



Fire Loss for the Year Ending December 31, 1931. 

Buildings, loss insured $2,328,245 78 

Contents, loss insured 1,785,173 75 



Total loss insured 
Marine loss 



t,113,419 53 



,613 85 



Yearly Loss for the Last Fifteen Years. 
Marine Loss not Included. 

Year ending January 1, 1918 $3,981,227 

1, 1919 2,822,109 

1, 1920 2,577,584 

1, 1921 3,139,566 

1, 1922 4,010,201 

1, 1923 3,304,595 

1, 1924 6,286,299 

•1, 1925 4,735,595 

1, 1926 5,407,070 

1, 1927 5,199,965 

1, 1928 . . . . . 3,694,642 

1, 1929 3,887,250 

1, 1930 4,129,926 

1,1931 4,593,622 

1, 1932 . . . . . 4,113,419 



Fire Department. 



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30 



City Document No. 12. 



Alarms for the Past Ten Years. 



Year. 



Bell. 



Still and 
Automatic. 



Totals. 



1931 
1930 
1929 
1928 
1927 
1926 
1925 
1924 
1923 
1922 



4,727 


3,934 


4,601 


3,808 


4,473 


3,979 


3,867 


3,829 


3,492 


3,840 


3,762 


4,108 


3,798 


3,904 


3,640 


4,353 


3,239 


4,002 


2,733 


3,401 



Roll of Merit. 



Carl V. Anderson. 
Carl S. Bowers. 
James J. Buchanan. 
William 0. Cheswell. 
Dennis M. Condon. 
Walter P. Corbett. 
Michael J. Dacy. 
James E. Downey. 
Thomas H. Downey. 
Dennis Driscoll. 
Joseph P. Hanton. 
Timothy J. Heffron. 



8,661 
8,409 
8,452 
7,696 
7,332 
7,870 
7,702 
7,993 
7,241 
6,134 



Each fire is treated as having only one alarm. 

John E. Fitzgerald Medal. 
John J. Leary, for 1922. 
Daniel J. O'Brien, for 1923. 
Thomas F. Kilduff, for 1924. 
Dennis M. Condon, for 1927. 
Joseph P. Hanton, for 1929. 

Walter Scott Medal. 
Dennis M. Condon, for 1922. 
James H. Curran, for 1923. 
Edward J. Crowley, for 1924. 
Gilbert W. Jones, for 1927. 
John J. Boyle, for 1929. 



Gilbert W. Jones. 
Henry J. Kelly. 
Martin A. Kenealy. 
John J. Kennedy. 
Frederick F. Leary. 
John J. Martin. 
Edward McDonough. 
James F. McMahon. 
Thomas J. Muldoon. 
Edward J. Murphy. 
Arthur A. Ryan. 
Michael J. Teehan. 



CITY OF BOSTON 



PRINTING DEPARTMENT 






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