A GIANT FIREMAN.
Everyone knew that, Kansas City, Mo., had a monopoly of whatever is biggest and best in the way of fire-service, but no one thought she could also lay claim to the biggest-bodied and biggest-hearted fireman in the country. Yet so it is, as the accompanying photograph shows, and from what Chief Hale writes about this man of many cubits he must be quite an acquisition to the fire department of that city. The only wonder is that, while the chief was busy last year at Paris whipping all creation with his pompier team and adding fresh laurels to those which he and they had already gained, he did not add his giant man in blue to his troop, and put him forward as the champion all-round big fireman of the world.
As to this Goliath of Kansas City: Chief Hale writes thatt while several fire departments are boasting of their tall and portly firemen, Kansas City can carry off the palm in that respect also. That her pretensions to eminence in that line are not baseless is proved by the accompanying photograph, “showing the long and the short” of that city’s fire department. The big man is Timothy Gaffney, a nephew of the famous Irish giant and original cannon ball juggler of Barnum’s circus in its old days. Gaffney’s heart is as big as his body, and he is known among his fellow citizens sa the “ prince of good fellows who always wears a smile.”
Gaffney has that “excellent giant’s strength” so belauded of Shakespeare, but he is not “ tyrannous ” in its use. Of his many noted feats in that line during his long service with the fire department of Kansas City, was that at the great hardware fire of Kelly, Hall & Co. some years ago. On that occasion Gaffney, who was then in his prime, came down an eighty-fivefoot ladder, carrying on his shoulder a bed tick full of shot. As he was making for shelter across the street, his feet sank through the asphalt pavement nearly up to his knees. His comrades in the department look upon their giant confrere as “all right,” and would be glad to “hear from some fireman who can stand more shot ” than he can.
Gaffney was born thirty-seven years ago at Cairo, Ill., and came to Kansas City in 1876. He joined its fire department in the June of 1888. He stands six feet, four and three-quarter inches high, and weighs 295 pounds. His chest measurement is fifty inches; waist, forty-nine; thigh, twenty-nine; calf, eighteen; biceps, seventeen. He wears a No. 12 shoe! Taken all round, it is doubtful if there is a fireman on this continent who can beat him for size.