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an important matter for your consideration, and we respectfully refer your honorable board to our last report in this regard, and also to the habit, still continued, of the storing in densely inhabited portions of our cities, of large quantities of gaseous oils and alcoholic liquors. This disregard for the safety of property and life is reprehensible and should be prohibited under heavy penalties.


The high trust imposed and the care devolved upon this board, as fire commissioners of this District, demand that we should here refer to our last annual report and again urge, as an absolute necessity, the additions therein recommended to the present force and apparatus of the department, viz:

Two engine companies, completely equipped for service, with apparatus and appartenances, one for the northern and one for the northeastern sections of this city.

One new style hook-and-ladder truck, manned and ready for use, in the western part of this city.

Eight years since, three Government steam fire-engines responded to alarms with their apparatus and aided to extinguish fires. Then the area in this District which required our constant care and vigilance was confined in its limits to less than one-half the area at present occupied by edifices of a nature and character, from their peculiar styles of construction, much more inflammable than were the buildings erected before the year 1870. Since that time structures occupied in all manner of ways, built in long rows, bave multiplied an hundred-fold ; but has the force comprising this department, upon which the safety and security of the community depend, been proportionately increased? Or could this department afford the necessary protection intended should two large fires occur simultaneously in opposite localities in this District ? When such a contingency may arise, and what the state of the elements may be at the time, it is impossible to divine. Experiences here and in larger cities teach us the necessity of providing protection against not only small fires, but conflagrations that may lay low the large squares of Mansard-roofed houses that so thickly dot this city.

Our present force is inadequate, and we respectfully urge that the additions thereto and hereinbefore recoinmended be made and put into immediate use.

We respectfully ask your attention to the accompanying reports of the chief engineer and the superintendent of the fire-alarm telegraph, and the statements which form a part of the report of the chief engineer in reference to the statistics of fires last year, the property under his charge, and the force of this department, all of which are approved by this board.


This branch of the department continues to realize our most sanguine expectations and gives correct and prompt intelligence.

Before concluding our report we wish to render the thanks of this board to the chief engineer, the assistant chief engineer, and the superintendent and operators of fire alarm telegraph for their intelligent supervision of the interests confided to their care, and to the officers and men of the department for their untiring activity, watchfulness, and strenuous exertions in the discharge of their duties. The large increase in the number of fires which have occurred during the year, over former years, and the very small loss incurred, is of itself the strongest eulogium we can pass upon the careful supervision by the officers, and the zeal of the men of this department.

We respectfully request the consideration of your honorable board for the men who have been disabled by service in this department, and that some provision be made for their support while such disability continues, and that the efficient force of the department be at all times up to the standard the places of men disabled by service be filled without prejudice.

The following are the estimates for this department for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1878, to wit: Salaries...... Repairs to apparatus

$55, 723 00 Repairs and improvements to houses.

6,000 00 Horse-feed

3,500 (0) Miscellaueous supplies...

5, 500 00

3, 500 00 Harness and repairs to harness.

2, 500 00 Farrier and laundry expenses.

2,000 00 Expenses fire-alarm telegraph

1,600 00

3,000 00 Total...

73, 323 00

Fuel and gas.

Estimate of cost of proposed addition to present force, viz, two engine-companies, equipped,

and one hook-and-ladder company, equipped.

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63, 075

Total cost of three proposed companies ...
Respectfully submitted.

THOS. P. MORGAN, President.
W. R. COLLINS, Vice-President.
WM. B. REED, Secretary.

WASHINGTON, D. C., Norimber 15, 1876.




Washington, D. C., November 13, 1876. To the honorable the Commissioners of the District of Columbia :

In obedience to your request of the 6th ultimo, I have the honor to report the following detailed statement of the transactions and expenditures of the fire-alarm telegraph since the date of my last annual report; and to which, in compliance with your request, I have made such recommendations as experience suggests for increasing the efficiency of this branch of the fire departinent; and also an estimate of the amount required for its support for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1878.

On the 31st day of December last, Mr. Wm. H. Glascott was appointed an operator in this office, vice Louis P. Seibold, removed ; and on the 29th of January following the resignation of Mr. Glascott was accepted, leaving a vacancy in the office, which was not filled until the 15th of March, at which date Mr. George H. Noyes was promoted from the position of repairman to fill said vacancy, and the position of repairman was abolished.

It will be remembered that Mr. Noyes, for more than a year previous to that time, had been on duty in the office as an operator, and, therefore, it becomes important to state in this connection that, since the resignation of Mr. Glascott, two operators have been obliged to perform the labor which before that time was divided equally between three men. Your attention will be invited in another part of this report to the same subject.

The expenses of the office for the twelve months covered by this report, to wit, from November 1, 1875, to October 31, 1876, both inclusive, have been as follows: Salary of superintendent

$1,500 00 Salary of two operators, at $1,200 each, less $150 saved by the vacancy above mentioned...

2, 250 00 One repairman, 44 months.

270 00 Total amount of salaries paid....

$4, 020 00 During the same period there has been expended for other purposes the following sums: Battery chemicals.

$1,482 88 New battery

72 25 Repairs of lines, &c

184 00 Ofice-rent

360 00 Gas-light.

162 88 Fuel...

42 07
15 07
24 00
30 75

lee. Washing Blacksmithing

Total, exclusive of salaries....

2,373 90 Total expenditures, salaries included....

6,393 90 During the month of February last a new telegraph-wire was put up, at a cost of $65, connecting this office with the United States Naval Observatory. This item of expense is not included in the above, for the reason that it is not a part of the legitimate expense of maintaining the fire-telegraph.

It will be seen by examining in detail the figures above, that the expenditures for support of this department have been reduced-(by the practice of rigid economy) about six hundred dollars below my estimates of last year-which, to me, is a very gratifying result. There are no outstanding liabilities against this branch of the public service (not included in this report) so far as I am advised ; and I think there are none.

From November 1, 1875, to the 30th day of October, 1876, both days inclusive, there were transmitted over the wires of the fire-alarm tele. graph 160 alarms of fire, as follows: In November, 19; December, 20; January, 22; February, 10; March, 12; April, 21; May, 6; June, 8; July, 14; August, 7; September, 10; October, 11. There are 86 sta. tions from whence alarms of fire may be transmitted by telegraph ; from 22 of these, one alarm each has been sounded, to wit: boxes 13, 26, 28, 31, 34, 52, 62, 72, 123, 137, 113, 212, 213, 215, 217, 314, 431, 512, 513, 514, 612, 712; two alarins each from boxes 16, 24, 36, 38, 41, 45, 51, 53, 54, 56, 63, 71, 73, 126, 127, 135, 141, 312, 415, 423, 523, 613; three alarms each 'froin boxes' 17, 47, 124, 136, 216, 315, 412, 413, 721; four alarms each from boxes 14, 23, 25, 32, 43, 131, 145, 731 ; five alarms each from boxes 37, 132; six alarms from box 134; seven alarms from box 521 ; twelve alarms from box 125. From 19 of the 86 stations no alarms have been sounded during the year; these are known as boxes 12, 15, 18, 19, 27, 35, 46, 61, 121, 128, 129, 142, 214, 324, 325, 421, 527, 528, 621.

It is gratifying to be able to report in reference to our present system of fire-telegraph that, after more than thirteen months' constant use, it is in as good condition as when turned over by the contractors on the 29th day of September, 1875, and that it has worked satisfactorily and well, and that in po instance has it failed to respond promptly to the touch of him whose duty it is to sound the alarms for fire; and, that its reliability, when needed for such purposes, bas inspired the utmost confidence of the inhabitants of the District. The - trap-lock" attached to each door of the signal-boxes effectually deters evil-doers from sounding false alarms.

To defray the expenses of this department for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1878, it will be necessary to provideSalary for one superintendent.....

$1,500 Salary for two operators, $1,200 each.

2, 4001 Battery chemicals..

1,600 Additional battery

200 General and necessary repairs.

800 Office rent....

: 60 Gas-light.

175 Fuel

60 Ice

20 Washing

3) New office-furniture

110 Contingent expenses..

265 Total for all purposes...

7,500 These estimates, although somewhat above the actual cost of maintenance for the past year, are, nevertheless, as low as can be safely relied upon, and should, in my judgment, be provided for. The lines and instruments are new, and consequently but slight repairs have been required during the past year; but as time advances, greater outlays for needful repairs must necessarily follow, and should be anticipated beforehand.

To promote the efficiency of the service, I suggest that provision be made for the appointment of two additional employés-one operator and one repairman.

Since the promotion of Mr. Voyes to the position of operator (previously referred to in this report) two men have been required to keep the office open every hour and minute of time that has since elapsed, debarring them entirely of holiday recreation or the ordinary Sabbath day's rest, working them, in fact, twelve hours each per day every day in the year. This, I submit, is more labor than ought to be required of any man; and therefore I respectfully and earnestly request that early provision be made for the appointment of an assistant.

There is not, I think, another fire-alarm telegraph in the United States run without the aid of a regular repairman; and although we have managed to get along without such help, yet I must say frankly that it is hazardous, and, in the long run, must prove more expensive than would be the paid services of a competent man, whose entire time should be spent in watching for and repairing promptly the small defects as they become apparent, and thus avoid the occurrence and expense of mending the larger breaches, which necessarily result from the smaller ones if not checked. The necessity, too, of keeping the lines in condition at all times for immediate use, impels me to urge this subject upon your consideration.

Should one or both of these employés be supplied, it will be necessary to make provision also for their compensation, and I would suggest that $900 each, per annum, would be a just remuneration for such services. The operator should be designated“ assistant operator.”

It affords me pleasure to be able to assure you that the present operators, Mr. A. S. Richards and Mr. George H. Noyes, are competent and efficient operators, and that they have each cheerfully performed the labors assigned them. Each of them have (as they deserve) my sincere thanks for the ability and uniform courtesy displayed in the discharge of their official duties. I have the honor to be, gentlemen, your obedient servant,

HENRY R. MILES, Superintendent Fire Alarm Telegraph.

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