A Tribute to Commissioner Bonner.
In a highly complimentary notice of Fire Commissioner Hugh Bonn_____r, of this city, which appeared in the New York Herald of Sunday, March 1, the writer alludes to his strict attention to business, his high sense ot duty, his conspicuous faculty of silence, and his singular modesty. The article added that, on reaching the grade of chief, he developed more and more the science of guarding against destructive fires. “His success in times ot emergency was in a large measure due to his knowledge of men. He never called upon anybody to perform a difficult task unless be knew that he could depend upon him. No general ever chose his lieutenants with more care. Me was, perhaps, not so close personally to the men as some other chiefs; but lie was able to control them and to direct them because they recognized that, although at times he might be severe, he was always fair. He realised, too, the danger to his men, and he would never permit them to go into perilous places, unless he was sure that the strategy of the situation would give them a fair chance. He would not permit the young and the venturesome needlessly to jeopardise their lives. If a building was to be entered with a line of hose, lie always insisted that no attempt to carry it in should be made until there was a strong stream of water on the lead. He insisted that to fight fire required effective weapons, and that nothing should be done, however adventurous and brave, which was not justified by thorough and efficient preparation.” Except the late IV; uty Chief Kruger, few understood the construction of buildings more thoroughly than he. He always insisted on locating a fire and possessed the “wonderful faculty of keepittg in mind not only the fire itself, but the peril to the surrounding property. He seemed to know by instinct when the battle was lost, as far as one building was concerned, and how the further spread of the flames could be prevented bv the efficient use of the apparatus under his control. He had a strong sense of values and he could quickly change his tactics. Among the underwriters, too. he had the reputat on of minimising the loss occasioned by water and breakage; yet he did not permit considerations of economy to interfere with the efficient extinguishing of the flames.” What was so well known to the conductors of thi.journal is especially noticed by the Herald writer—namely his “attention to detail, the inspection of every appliance and every detail in the equipment of the firemen themslves made constantly for the efficiency of the department.” He could detect at a glance any weak spot in a piece of fire apparatus—something that would escape the notice of even an expert—and reject it at once. “His great task was improving the apparatus in use.” Com missioner Bonner was the inventor of many appliances that are now in general use in fire departments, not one of which he patented, nor to-day, outside of the fire department and a small circle of friends is he known as the inventor of a liie-net, the claw-iron for opening doors and ripping away walls and partitions; also, a combined wall-cutter and ram —a most effective tool. All these firemen owe to him. To him also arc due coupling spanners, tin-cutters, window-breakers and many appliances for improving and reinforcing hook and ladder trucks. His mind worked out the invention of the swivel-pipe, which can be carried up a water tower and for the portable hydrant connection. The peculiarly fashioned pipe which is used for work in cellars and sub-cellars is also to be credited to him. So also, he at all events brought into use the life -gun—recently so effectively employed at the fire in the Parker building, Manhattan, where for the first time in its history it was carried t an adjacent roof and a line was filed up from it to some men who had been vc’aught some stories higher up.