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THE RAILWAY FIRE SITUATION   37

power speeder patrols, as carried out during 1914 in southern British Columbia:

Great Northern Power speeder patrolmen not capable, and unable to Railway   keep speeder in repair. Example :—August 1, speeder

broke down. Patrolman stayed at Elko all day, the worst day for fires in four years. The northbound passenger started six fires between Baynes and Elko. They had to be looked after by Forest Branch officials. The next day the town of Elko was threatened, costing the Forest Branch several hundred dollars to control it.

In the early period of the dry season, a power speeder patrol can properly look after twenty-five to forty miles of track. As the danger increases, extra special foot patrolmen or hand speeder patrolmen should be placed in the most dangerous sections, supplemented again, as the hazard increases, by patrolmen sent out from section crews to inspect the most dangerous spots in their sections where a fire would probably start. Some days, when fires seem to start by the least little cause, a foot patrolman to every mile would pay in the long run.

When their speeders broke clown and it was neglected to send a man out from the section crews, any fires that were started by sparks from locomotives did damage and generally cost a considerable sum to put out. Incident:—May 22, a fire was started on the right-of-way between Salmo and Ymir by passing freight train. The power speeder was broken and patrolman did not follow this train. The section fore-man neglected to send out foot patrol from his crew to follow this freight. The patrolman following the passenger train some hours after discovered the fire and the result was that two section gangs and two Forest Branch officials worked ten hours to extinguish it.

Arrangements were also made that, in case the patrolman on power speeder did not appear within his time, the patrol was taken up by a man from the section crew who would follow the train. This was effective.

Another system they tried out proved effective. The patrolman on power speeder in a dangerous country for fires would, as he came to a section crew, take one of them with him. and if a fire was discovered he would put the sectionman off to put it out. If no fires were discovered, he would carry this man to the section boundary and drop him off, and he would walk back to his crew, and so on with each section crew, making practically a double check. This system they intend to adopt next season.

From Chopaka to Princeton, the power speeder patrol did not prove effective owing to the machine breaking down frequently. Whether this was the fault of not having a practical man in charge or not, is not known. Fires were started by locomotives and were not properly attended to by the employees of the company, causing considerable damage to standing timber. The engines were properly equipped with fire protective appliances, and were inspected frequently. The situation got so grave that the railway company put on an oil-burning locomotive, and no fires were started afterwards.


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