Annual Convention of Pacific Coast Chiefs

Annual Convention of Pacific Coast Chiefs

A feature of the twenty-fourth annual convention of the Pacific Coast Association of Fire Chiefs at San Diego, Cal., August 21-25, was the special train run over the Santa Fe Line, from San Francisco, by Chief Thomas R. Murphy, of that city. Stops were made at Fresno, San Bernardino and Riverside, and at each place the party of a hundred or more was elaborately entertained. The convention met in the large hall near the Maryland Hotel, which was the Headquarters. Under the hotel several large store rooms in the Arcade were filled with exhibits, the most expensive display that has yet been shown at any convention of the Assoc_____ The first session was called to order Monday morning, August 21st, by President Thomas R. Murphy, of San Francisco. The convention was opened with prayer by a local clergyman, and Mayor Edwin M. Capps, who addressed the convention eloquently. Several other city officials also spoke. President Murphy appointed as a Credential Committee, Chiefs Joseph Wood, of Rental, Washington; Edward Haley of San Jose, Cal., and Archie J. Eley, of Los Angeles. As the exhibit commute, Chiefs B. F. Dowell, of Portland, Ore.; Joseph Schneider, of Riverside, Cal., and Charles Otterson, of Napa, Cal. The meeting was then addressed by Mr. George H. Robertson, engineer tor t_____e Underwriters. Chief Murphy announced as the auditing committee Chiefs M. D. Murphy, of Stockton, Cal.; Thomas Davis, of Victoria, B. C., and G. Sidney Rose, of Berkeley, Cal. As the resolutions committee. Chiefs Elliott Whitehead, of Oakland, Cab; George C. Craw, of Long Beach, Cal., and W. A. Taro, of Everett, Wash. As the transportation committee, Chief Thomas Davis, of Victoria, B. C.; Mr. F. B. Shattuck, of Seattle, and Mr. O. E. Lilly, of San Diego. At the afternoon session a lengthy discussion was had on the most practical means or device for carrying hose over or under railroad tracks. The consensus of opinion seemed to be that in the absence of any device the Chief should exercise his rights to hold up trains as long as might he necessary. Chief Otterson, of Napa, introduced a standard fire report blank or form and after much discussion this was referred back for amendments. His second paper on the stability of the Office of Chief of Fire Department was also read by the Secretary and discussed at length. His ideas were approved except that there was a belief among the volunteers that for them a rotation in office was a good thing.

Question Box.

The question box was opened and the remainder of the afternoon devoted to discussing such subjects as Co-operation and County Organizations, Standard Hose Couplings, the proper method of installing distillate and gasoline tanks and respirators for Fire Department use.

On Monday evening the convention was addressed at length ou the subject of incendiarism by Mr. Arthur Keetch, the Special District Attorney or Prosecutor in Los Angeles County, “Arson Cases,” who illustrated his talk with lantern slides, following him Mr. H. A. Thornton, Attorney for the Arson Committee of the Pacific Coast Underwriters, also made an entertaining and valuable address.


The first paper on the program was by Chief Elliott Whitehead on “Teaching Fire Prevention Through the School Children.’ This was discussed at length by Chiefs Bartlett, Davis, Hilton, Otterson, Collins, Hubbard and Clifford, telling of the practice in their cities. Several subjects from the question box were taken up and discussed. In the afternoon the members and their friends were taken by courtesy of the San Diego Fire Department across the boundary line into Tia Juana, Mexico, where they had many novel experiences in a foreign country.

Wednesday Sessions.

At the Wednesday morning session the meeting was favored with an address by H. F. Badger, Engineer for the Underwriters at Los Angeles, on the importance of co-operation between Fire Department Officials and Inspection Bureaus. Assistant Chief Short, of Oakland, then brought up the Tenement House Bill now before the Legislature of California and explained the work done by the Housing Commission of which he is a member. On Wednesday afternoon, a demonstration was made of a portable oxy-acetylene fire department cutting apparatus, cutting steel plates and bars. After some discussion of public school safety devices, a committee consisting of Chiefs A. E. Wilcox, Chas. Scudero and Geo. Bartlett was appointed to consider and make a report upon this subject. Assistant Chief Short continued his discussion of the State Housing Commission’s requirements, this being participated in by several of the Chiefs. On motion these regulations were adopted and given the approval of the Association. A paper by Secretary Bringhurst on Fire Extinguishing and Fire Prevention was then read and discussed at length. At four o’clock, upon adjournment, all the visitors were taken on a most delightful drive to Point Loma. In the evening a memorial service was held in the hall to honor the memory of Chief James Kenney, of Berkeley, and Chief Joseph E. Shrewsbury, of Long Beach, both of whom were killed while on duty during the year.

The Attendance.

The Credential Committee reported the following list as present:


Assistant Chiefs.


Fire Commissioners.

Fire Marshal.

Battalion Chiefs.

Associate Members.


The first paper was by Chief Archie A. Eley, of Los Angeles, on the hazard of shingle roofs. His views as to this dangerous material were those of the majority of the members. Chief Davis explained that in Victoria the hazard is so well recognized that the laws require that shingles of wood must be laid in mortar and on close boarding. The next paper was by Chief B. F. Dowell, of Portland, on Fire Prevention, describing the method used in his city and their success. This was followed by an interesting discussion. A resolution was introduced by Chief Whitehead, of Oakland, suspending the section of the constitution requiring that our conventions be held alternately north and south of the north line of California, so that the convention might be held in Oakland next year. This resolution was finally withdrawn. On Thursday afternoon, after some discussion of queries, particularly the necessity for stokers on steamers in the smaller cities and the use of oil burners on steam fire engines, a paper by Chief Thomas Davis on the subject of “Fire Streams” was read and discussed. The committee on the safety of schools made a report with recommendation. Commissioner j. R. Wilson, of Vallejo, handed in a palper on the need of a standard building ordinance for small cities and this was red by. the Secretary’ and met with the approval of the members. The next was a paper by Chief Frank L. Hilton, of Alhambra, on Fire Prevention, which also met with favor. Another paper by Chief Thomas Davis, of Victoria, was on the subject of co-operation between Underwriters and Fire Departments and was endorsed by all. The meeting adopted two reports from the resolutions committee offering resolutions on the deaths of Chiefs Kenney and Shrewsbury and Rendering a vote of thanks to the city officials, citizens, firemen and press of San Diego for many courtesies and hospitalities. The report of the Exhibit Committee, which was at much length, was read and adopted. The auditing committee reported the books and accounts of the Secretary and Treasurer correct in every detail.

Next Meeting at Anaconda.

The selection of the place of the next convention being taken up, the cities placed in nomination were Anaconda, Mantana; Bellingham, Washington, and Portland, Ore. A ballot was taken, which brought no result. On the second vote Anaconda received fifty-two ballots and Portland thirty-seven, and Anaconda was declared selected as the place for the 1917 convention.

Election of Officers.

The election of officers being taken up, George E. Wallace, Chief of the Modesto Fire Department, was elected president. For First Vice-President, Chief Louis Almgren, of San Diego, was chosen. For Secretary, ex-Chief Harry W. Bringhurst, of Seattle, was re-elected, for the sixteenth time. For Treasurer, Chief Joseph Wood, of Renton, Wash., was chosen. The Vice-Presidents for States and Provinces selected were: Arizona, Chief A. F. Wright, of Phoenix; British Columbia, Chief Arthur Turner, of Point Grey; California, Chief Elliott Whitehead, of Oakland ; Idaho, Chief Fred H. Kelly, of Wallace; Montana, Chief A. T. Trodick, of Great Falls; New Mexico, Chief Chas. Whiteman, of Roswell; Nevada, Chief G. S. Speyer, of Fallon; Oregon, Chief B. F. Dowell, of Portland; Washington, Chief W. A. Taro, of Everett. After the installation of the new officers, President Wallace named as the Executive Committee Chiefs A. J. Eley, of Los Angeles; Thomas Davis, of Victoria, and Edward Haley, of San Jose.

A pleasing incident was the presentation by the members to Mr. and Mrs. Almgren of a handsome dining room set; to Chief Almgren himself, a traveling bag and another to exPresident Murphy.

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