Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- September 12, 1863Lack of Water and the State Street Fire (Editorial)
According to an investigation of Saturday's fire on State Street, lack of water was the cause of the rapid spread and heavy damage of the conflagration. The inquiry revealed a very dangerous condition, which is not known to many of our readers, and it will cost much money to remove the hazard. It developed that the main water pipes in State Street are only four inches in diameter, while the lead pipes to the various buildings are only three inches in diameter. It requires but little figuring to prove that the pipes are much too small to fulfill their purpose, and it is almost incredible that this fact was not considered when the pipes were laid. Considering that we have eight engines and that the smallest water plugs are at least two-and-one-half inches in diameter, one can readily see that eight 21/2-inch plugs cannot be adequately fed by one four-inch pipe.2
The same condition prevails on all the streets of the South Side, with the exception of Clark Street, where six-inch pipes have been laid. And this fact explains the complaints of South Siders that there is a lack of water after every fire. Thus the efficiency of our able fire department is greatly reduced and the South Side is exposed to grave danger. Of course, this state of affairs cannot be tolerated. The situation calls for immediate attention. It is the duty of the competent municipal authorities to take action now, even though a large expenditure of money is involved.
During the State Street fire, which raged for three hours and rendered many families poor and homeless, water was drawn from Clark Street, Wabash Avenue, Michigan Avenue, and Third and Fourth Avenues, and still the supply was not sufficient until hose was laid from the river to the scene of the fire--a distance of nearly a mile. Of course, the lake is closer, and it would have been easier to get the water from the "reservoirs of Michigan", but the shore in that vicinity is too steep to permit the setting up of a pump.3
The small capacity of the water mains is the only reason for the rapid spread of this fire, which destroyed property valued at $100,000. The authorities will have to take measures to prevent another such disaster.
Your search criteria returned no results.