Los Angeles Fire Department
Historical Archive

Fourteenth Annual Report
of the
Board of Fire

of the
Los Angeles
Fire Department
Chief Engineer
and Electrician

November 30, 1899



346 South Hill Street,
                                      Los Angeles, Cal., Nov. 30,1899.

To the Honorable the Council of the City of Los Angeles.

    GENTLEMEN:--In accordance with Section 58 of the Charter--which says, "The Chief Engineer of the Fire Department shall present to the Council at its meeting in the second week in December of each year a report for the preceding year ending the 30th of November last," and Article 14 of the same section, which says, "The report of the Chief Engineer of the Fire Department shall show the condition of the Fire Department and its apparatus, giving a detailed statement thereof, also the work of the department during the year"--it becomes my duty to present this report, being the Fourteenth Annual Report of this department, for the year ending November 30th, 1899, together with such suggestions and recommendations as will further the efficiency of the department.


    Double fire hydrants should be erected on Los Angeles street, in the middle of blocks from Aliso street to Fifth street; on Broadway, from Second street to Sixth street, and on Hill street, from First to Sixth street.


    The Zanja Madre, where it crosses Commercial street, Requena street, Jackson street and First street, should be provided with manholes and "flood gates," allowing easy access for steam fire engines in case of serious fires in those localities.



6                                ANNUAL REPORT OF


    The city has purchased lots and erected twelve new fire apparatus houses, with all modern improvements. These will be ready for occupancy about December 1st, 1899.


We have purchased during the year:

    2 Metropolitan Engines, first class, manufactured by
       American Fire Engine Co.

    1 Fire Engine, third class, manufactured by American Fire
       Engine Co.

    4 Combination Chemical Engines and Hose Wagons,
        manufactured by Fire Extinguisher Manufacturing
        Company, Chicago.

    2 Combination Chemical Engines and Hose Wagons,
        manufactured by C. F. Holloway & Co., Baltimore.

    1 Combination Chemical Engine and Hose Wagon,
        manufactured by Racine Wagon Co., Wisconsin.

    1 City Service Truck, manufactured by Fire Extinguisher
       Manufacturing Company of Chicago.

    1 City Service Truck, manufactured by Seagrave Co.,
       Columbus, Ohio.

    These when placed in service in the new houses, as proposed, in the early part of the year 1900--together with the reorganization of the department on a full-paid basis--will give the city a fire department equal to any in cities of our size in America. And property will be properly protected.


    The Fire Alarm System has been greatly improved (see Electrician's Report hereto attached). and is working accurately and satisfactorily, under the able and intelligent super-intendency of Mr. Ira J. Francis, City Electrician.


    The effective work of the department has been generously recognized by the following donations placed to the credit of the Firemen's Relief Fund:
1898--Dec. 10, Standard Oil Co...................$200.00
1899--Jan. 4, Los Angeles National Bank....... 50.00


                               FIRE COMMISSIONERS                         7

                               POLICE LINES AT FIRES.
    The Chief of Police has instructed his force to strictly enforce the rules regarding the establishment of lines at fires, and excluding therefrom all persons not entitled to remain within. Badges will be furnished newspaper men, insurance men, and employees of lighting companies and others, whose business entitles them to the privilege.


    With the use of "bumpers," which permit of vehicles crossing lines of hose in use with the least possible risk of injury to the hose, and the towers and racks erected, with the new houses, our fire hose can be taken proper care of and the "life" of hose lengthened.

    In conclusion, I desire to express my thanks
To your honorable body, for the courtesy and consideration extended to the department.

    To the Board of Fire Commissioners, for their intelligent administration of the business affairs of the department.

    To my Assistant Chief, Ed. R. Smith, and all other officers and men, for their attention to their duties and for prompt, intelligent work, assisting thereby to build up the very excellent reputation our department has at home and abroad.

    To the citizens and taxpayers for their hearty support and appreciation of our services.


                                                       Walter S. Moore,

                                                                 Chief Engineer.




                                                      LOS ANGELES, Dec. 1, 1899.

Walter S. Moore, Chief Engineer.

       SIR:--I herewith present my report of the operations of the Fire Alarm System for the year ending November 30, 1899.


    During the past year many and great improvements have been made in the system through funds derived from the issue of Fire Department bonds. A complete and modern 24-circuit system of storage batteries had been installed, and the office equipment enlarged by the addition of one 8-circuit repeater and a 24-circuit switchboard, so that our central office facilities are now ample for some years' increase.

    Fifty new Gamewell non-interfering succession boxes have been purchased and are now being placed in position, thus supplying an urgent deficiency in alarm stations and furnishing protection to annexed territory hitherto entirely without alarm facilities.

    The new apparatus has given perfect satisfaction and is far superior to old style equipment in every way--economy, ease of operation, certainty and quickness of repair.


    The alarm system has worked very satisfactorily during the year, and the use of key guards has proved beneficial, in spite of a number of false alarms.

    There were 255 bell alarms transmitted over the system in addition to which 27 still alarms and 73 alarms by telephone were received, making a total of 355 alarms during the year.


                            FIRE COMMISSIONERS                  39


    The fire alarm system now has in operation 8 signal circuits, connected with which there are 167 fire alarm boxes, 1 alarm circuit carrying three engine houses, and 1 tapper circuit supplying 10 tappers in Newspaper offices, etc.

    There are now in process of erection 4 signal and 4 alarm circuits, which, when completed, will give duplicate service to each engine house and segregate boxes and alarm apparatus, and will make a total of 18 circuits in operation, with 194 alarm boxes.


    The amount of construction work performed the past year has been far in excess of anything heretofore done.

    In addition to the regular routine of repairs and alterations, there has been erected and put in operation 1 new box circuit; 3 box circuits have been constructed and are now ready to put in service; leads to new engine houses have been put in operation at the following points:

    19    Spring street and Sixth street
    41    Broadway and Fifth street
    258  Kent street and Waterloo street
    346  Estrella avenue and Washington street
    347  Adams street and Figueroa street
    348  Grand avenue and Thirtieth street
    357  Dora street and Sixth street
    412  Pico street and Lerdo Street
    413  Pico street and Fedora street
    415  Pico street and Vermont avenue
    416  Magnolia avenue and Sixteenth street
    417  Vermont avenue and Washington street
    418  Adams street and Normandie street
    419  Adams street and Vermont avenue
    421  Jefferson street and Vermont avenue
    423  Orchard avenue and Twenty-ninth street
    425  Hoover street and Twenty-seventh street
    426  Wesley avenue and Thirty-seventh street
    427  Thoraton avenue and Twenty-second street

  In conclusion, I desire to thank you for the procurement of apparatus which has so enhanced the value of the Fire Alarm System, and for constant courtesy and help to myself.
                                             Respectfully submitted,
                                                                 IRA J. FRANCIS,



Were the following:

      DECEMBER 7TH.--A one-story brick building used as a warehouse, and the tanks of the Standard Oil Co, located at San Fernando and Aurora streets. The fire originated among the small oil tanks in the yard, supposedly by the careless throwing away of a cigar stump, and communicated almost immediately to the warehouse and large tanks. An alarm was sent in at 2.50 p.m. from box 212, followed in seven minutes by a second alarm. The efforts of the department were successfully directed to confining the fire within the works of the Standard Oil Co. Four engine companies, two chemical companies and one hook and ladder company were at work. Loss estimated, $50,000.

      December 23RD.--Thirteen frame shacks, used by Chinese as dwellings, merchandise stores, etc., located in the east end of Chinatown, on Apablaza street. The fire originated in one of these shacks, supposedly from the carelessness of a Chinaman smoking a pipe, and communicated to a two-story brick dwelling. A telephone alarm was sent in at 2.04 p.m. Two engine companies, two hook and ladder companies and one chemical company were at work. Loss, $10,000.

      June 10TH.--A two and half story frame residence in course of construction at Main and Rice avenue. The fire originated in the barn from the explosion of a coal oil stove, and communicated to the residence. A bicyclist notified Engine Company No. 5, the nearest company, at 3.35 p.m., which had to make a run of two miles and work from a ditch. Loss, $10,000.

      September 18TH--Occurred the most extensive and destructive fire of the year, a one-story brick building used as a planing mill, with adjoining lumber yard; four-story brick flour mill, one-story frame warehouses, etc., in block bounded by Wilmington, Commercial, Alameda and Requena streets. The fire originated in the planing mill, supposedly from a spark from the chimney of the engine room, and communicated with remarkable rapidity to the adjoining property. Three employees of the planing mill were fatally burned in trying to rescue property. An alarm was sent in at 1.30 p.m., followed at 1.35 p.m. by a second alarm and a general alarm at 1.40 p.m. Eight engine companies, four chemical companies and two hook and ladder companies worked. Loss estimated, $250,000.

      November 16TH.--One-story brick hay warehouse, at 847-855 San Fernando street. The fire was of unknown origin. An alarm was sent in at 6.30 p.m. from boxes 24 and 21. The fire was confined entirely to the building in which it originated. Two engine companies and one hook and ladder company worked. Loss $15,000.


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