Los Angeles Fire Department
Historical Archive


Annual Report

of the


of the


JUNE 30th, 1921.



To the Honorable: The Mayor, The City Council and the Board of Fire Commissioners of the City of Los Angeles.


    I have the honor to present herewith, in compliance with the requirements of the City Charter, the Thirty Fifth Annual Report of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

    A record of the Department will be found in this report, showing the number of alarms to which response has been made, with the losses resulting therefrom; also the number and kind of improvements made during the year 1920-1921, together with recommendations for improvements that are necessary at the present time in order that proper fire protection may be given the residents and owners of the City.

    During the fiscal year 1920-1921, the Los Angeles Fire Department has responded to 3445 alarms, 3172 of which were actual fires, being 111 more than for the preceding fiscal year, the property loss being $1,121,165.00.

    During the same period the companies at San Pedro, Wilmington and Terminal Island responded to 221 alarms, 204 of which were actual fires, with a property loss of $148,505.00.

    All horse drawn apparatus was replaced by the following motor driven equipment, which was purchased and placed in service during July 1921.

    10 Seagrave Auto Pumping Engines 6 Cylinder 79 9-10 H.P.

    9 Seagrave Auto Combination chemical and Hose Wagons.

    1 Buick Roadster.

    20,000 feet of 2 1/2 in. cotton jacketed, rubber-lined fire hose and 2000 feet of 1 1/2 in. cotton jacketed rubber line fire hose and a small amount of minor equipment was purchased and placed in service.





    The City has increased rapidly in population, and consequently building activities have been stimulated to a great extent, and it necessarily follows that the fire hazard has grown proportionally. In order that adequate fire protection may be afforded, it is imperative that consideration be given the following recommendations:

    That a one story bungalow type engine house be constructed on the lot owned by the City at Sawtelle and Engine Co. No. 6 1279 Temple St.

    That double, brick engine houses be constructed on lots owned by the City at the following locations.

    16th St. and Grand Ave. San Pedro

    Engine Co. No. 1, 2507 Pasadena Ave.

    Engine Co. No. 2, 2127 East First Street.

    That lots be purchased and one story bungalow engine houses be constructed on the same at the following locations; Bairdstown, Gardena, Palms, 10th and Norton Sts. Cypress St. and Pepper St. and West Hollywood at Gardner Junction.

    That 6 motor driven triple combination pumping engines, chemical and hose wagon be purchased and installed with the necessary crew and equipment at the following locations:

    16th St. and Grand Ave. (San Pedro)--Sawtelle--West Hollywood at Gardner Junction.

    10th St. and Norton Ave. Bairdstown--Cypress and Pepper Sts.

    That ten motor driven triple combination pumping engines, chemical and hose wagons be purchased and installed to replace apparatus now in service at the following houses:

    Hose Co. No. 1, 113 South Griffin Ave.

    Hose Co. No. 4, 129 South Loma Drive.

    Engine Co. No. 2, 2127 East First St.

    Engine Co. No. 18, 2616 Hobart Blvd.

    Engine Co. No. 20, 2144 Sunset Blvd.

    Engine Co. No. 21, 1187 East 52nd St.

    Engine Co. No. 25, 2927 Stephenson Ave.

    Engine Co. No. 29, 158 South Western Ave.

    Engine Co. No. 32, 2930 West First St.

    Engine Co. No. 35, 1314 North Vermont Ave.

    That two 75 foot, motor driven aerial trucks be purchased and installed at Truck Co. No. 1, 1615 South Hill St. and Truck Co. No. 4, 1819 West 7th St.




    That six motor driven city service trucks be purchased and installed with necessary crews and equipment at the following locations:

    Engine Co. No. 1, 1901 Pasadena Ave.

    Engine Co. No. 2, 2127 East First St.

    Engine Co. No. 22, 4352 South Main St.

    Engine Co. No. 29, 158 South Western Ave.

    Engine Co. No. 30, 1401 Central Ave.

    San Pedro--16th St. and Grand Ave.

    That one chassis be purchased for a city service truck.

    That one chassis be purchased for a squad wagon.

    That two Ford roadsters be purchased for the Fire Prevention Bureau and the store room.

    That eight roadsters costing not less than $1800.00 each be purchased for use as follows: five for Battalion Chiefs, one for the Assistant Chiefs, one for the Fire Prevention Bureau, and one for the store room.

    That six village hand drawn hose carts and two hand drawn chemical tanks be purchased for use of volunteer companies.

    That three new motors be purchased to replace worn out motors in present apparatus.

    That six new electric starters be purchased to replace worn out electric starters now in use.

    That 20,000 feet 2 1/2 inch and 5,000 feet of 1 1/2 inch cotton jacketed rubber lined fire hose be purchased to equip new companies and to replace old and worn out hose.

    I would also recommend that, where necessary to provide adequate fire protection, the five water corporations be required to enlarge their mains, so as to permit more fire hydrants being placed in the territory served by them, as at the present time there is a large area of the city in which fire hydrants cannot be placed on account of the small size of the mains.

    The growth of the City is phenomenal, the present area being approximately 385 square miles, and it has become almost impossible for the fire Department to cover this large amount of territory without additional apparatus, all of which should be motor driven, not only on account of the extent of the territory to be protected, over which buildings are widely scattered, but also from an economical standpoint, and as a matter of efficiency.

    I again urgently recommend the installation of a modern fire alarm be commenced without delay. The need of such a modern system is becoming more obvious daily and the Fire Department cannot be expected to properly respond to alarms of fire unless a proper and efficient fire alarm system is provided whereby they may receive the alarm at once and with certainty.

    The public should not be required to depend upon telephone service to transmit an alarm of fire to the Fire Department. An ample number of street boxes should be provided, and at least 1000 additional fire alarm boxes should be installed throughout the city to give the required protection to the public.

    I also recommend that a street fire alarm box be placed at every school house in the City and that an auxiliary box, connected with said street box, be installed in the offices of the Superintendent of each school; also, that a street box be placed in front of every theatre, to further protect the patrons of such places of amusement.




    That semi-white and red lamps be placed at locations of fire alarm boxes to indicate the location of such boxes to the public at night.

    That a semaphore fire alarm system with vibrating gongs be placed at each corner of the congested district on Main, Spring, Broadway and Hill streets, to notify the public and the crossing officers of the approach of fire apparatus, said system to be connected and operated from the Central Fire Alarm Office.

    The City should own the conduits and wires of the Fire Alarm System, thereby discontinuing the use of leased wires, as at present, which is entirely unsatisfactory.

    The system should be so devised as to allow of the growth of the City in the future and for at least twenty years to come.

    At least 70% or more of the City is without fire alarm boxes and the residents in this territory must depend entirely upon the telephone system for sending in alarms, which in itself is unreliable at times, and many times entails serious delay in receiving of alarm with corresponding loss of property.

    More fire alarm boxes should be installed at San Pedro, East San Pedro and Terminal Island as the Central Office equipment there is of sufficient capacity to allow the installation of such fire alarm boxes.

    A fire alarm system should be installed at Wilmington, Harbor City, Hollywood, Rose Hill and Bairdstown, which localities cover a large area, and are rapidly building up with municipal and other improvements and entirely without a fire alarm system of any kind.

    Also, provision should be made for a fire alarm system at Gardena, Sawtelle, and Van Nuys, which localities are also building up.

    I also wish to take this opportunity to again recommend the urgent need of the proposed $2,000,000.00 Bond Issue to provide a new up-to-date fire alarm system and to purchase lots, build new houses and procure proper equipment.

    In conclusion, I desire to extend my thanks to His Honor, the Mayor, the Honorable Members of the City Council and the Board of Fire Commissioners, for their interest in matters pertaining to the Fire Department.

    Also, to the Prosecuting Attorney for the invaluable assistance rendered this Department in the enforcement of the fire ordinance.

    I also wish to thank the Officers and Members of the Fire Department and the Fire Prevention Bureau for their faithfulness, willingness and strict attention shown in the performance of their duties and to extend thanks to the Chief of Police and the members of the Police Department, for assistance rendered at fires.


                                                       R. J. SCOTT,

                                                            Chief Engineer.



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