Below is a transcribed version of the Fire Department Annual Report for Fiscal Year 1903-1904, submitted by Chief George W Parker. The SFD in 1902-1903 responded to just 28 fires, all of which were undoubtedly actual fires.
You can view a PDF version of the report at the bottom of the page.
Report of the Chief Engineer of the Fire Department
To the Honorable Mayor of the City of Stamford:
I herewith submit the annual report of the Stamford Fire Department for the year ending November 30, 1903.
The membership of the Department is 46, as follows:
1 Chief Call Men 2 Assistant Chiefs Call Men 3 Captains Call Men 1 Engineman Call Men 2 Assistant Enginemen Call Men 21 Hosemen Call Men 10 Laddermen Call Men 1 Electrician Permanent Men 5 Drivers Permanent Men
The apparatus and equipment in service in the Department are as follows:
2 Steam fire engines, third size.2 Hose carriages, reels.1 Seventy-foot aerial truck.4 Three-gallon chemical extinguishers.
2 Supply Wagons.
3,400 feet of hose in good condition.
1,000 feet of hose in poor condition.
During the year ending November 30, 1903 the department responded to 28 calls, of which 26 were bell alarms, and to were still alarms. The causes were ascertained to be as follows:
Chimneys 4 Oil lamp 3 Oil stove 1 Mice gnawing matches 1 Overheated stone 2 Sparks from chimney 2 Spontaneous combustion 1 Sparks from bonfires 3 Lightning 1 Defective hearth 1 Upsetting of lantern 1 Overheated furnace 1 Defective flu 1 Plumbers gasoline stove 1 Rubbish 1 Forge 1 __ Cleaning of hose 3
The following table shows, from the information obtainable, the total loss of buildings and their contents, and the amount of insurance on said buildings and contents:
Loss on buildings $36,477.00 Loss on contents $22,899.97 _________ Total loss on buildings and contents $56,376.97 Insurance on buildings $24,402.00 Insurance on contents $12,729.97 _________ Total insurance $31,131.97 Loss over insurance on buildings $12.075.00 Loss over insurance on contents $10,170.70 _________ Total loss over insurance $22,245.70
Note – it should be stated that in the losses included in the above is that from a fire on the Leroy Place, which is outside the district supplied by hydrants, the loss of building being $30,000 and on contents $18,000, while the insurance on the building was $18,500 and on the contents $6000.
I would earnestly recommend that provision be made for an increase of $25 per year in the compensation of the call men, with the exception of the Chief and two Assistant Chiefs. This recommendation is submitted in the belief that a grant of this advance would tend to increase the efficiency of the department. It is evident from an examination of salaries paid in departments similarly organized, in cities the size of Stamford, that the pay of Stamford call fireman is now much below the average, and that, if the increase proposed is granted; the compensation would still be reasonable.
The time seems to have come, when it would be advisable to provide for the appointment of an additional man to serve as substitute driver and tillerman. It is necessary at present to pay about $350 per year for substitute drivers. This, of course, might be applied to the salary of a man on the permanent force, who, when not required as a driver, would be of viable service as a tillerman. The advantage of having a steady man in the position can be readily appreciated, familiarity with the horses and with the use of apparatus being desirable.
The aerial truck has been in service for 15 years, and in all that time has had practically no repair. Its condition at present is such as to call for a general overhauling at a factory. In its present condition, it is liable to break down at any time, thereby entailing damage, danger and inconvenience.
The supply wagon in No. 1 house should receive slight repairs, and should be repainted.
There is a need in the department for 10 rubber coats, 12 fire helmets, and six pairs of rubber boots. No helmets have been purchased for the department since 1885, and no coats have been purchased for at least eight years.
Slight addition to the heating pipes in No. 1 engine house would not only ensure better heating for the building, but would result in a significant savings of coal to more than justify the slight outlay required.
I would recommend the purchase of a relief valve and shut off nozzles for one of the fire engines. By the use of this apparatus, the efforts of the department to extinguish fires would be materially helped, and it would be possible to avoid damage to property by water to a much greater degree than without such equipment.
I would respectfully call your attention to the fact that there is, at the headquarters of the Department, no desk for proper keeping of the books and papers of the Chief, which during the term of my predecessor, were kept at Police Headquarters.
I take the opportunity in this, my first report for the Department, to give expression to the regret of all the officers and members of the Fire Department at the death of George Bowman, who joined the department as Assistant Chief May 1, 1885 and was its Chief from May 1, 1887, until his death, September 14, 1903. The Mayor and Common Council, by resolution have expressed their appreciation of his faithful service as Chief of the Fire Department and the firemen of the city feel that he has left an example of efficiency and loyalty worthy of emulation.
All of which is respectfully submitted.
Harry W Parker, Chief
Dated at Stamford, December 19, 1903.