AUBURN AND ITS FIRE DEPARTMENT.
ELSEWHERE in these columns will be found the reasons given by the board of fire commissioners of Auburn, N. Y., for the disbandment of the three companies of volunteer firemen retained at the expense of the city after the change from a volunteer, to a paid fire department. Their usefulness was gone, as will clearly be seen from the answer of the commissioners to a writ of certiorari concerning their action in dismissing the volunteer hose companies, Nos. 2, 5, and 6 from the department. To the members in addition had been paid over all that was due to them in the way of money for the relief of aged and disabled firemen and their families, and the answer further shows not only that the disbanded hose companies were of no advantage to the city, but that two of them had been moved by the consciousness of their powerlessness for good to such an extent as,in the one case,to have petitioned to be allowed to commit “happy dispatch” and, in the other, to have “disposed of all its property, preparatory to vacating its quarters.” There can be no doubt that the fire department of Auburn will get on better without the disbanded companies, who seem to have used their quarters not for fire purposes, but for political meetings and social gatherings. It is not to be wondered at, therefore, that the members were never on hand when a fire broke out even in the immediate neighborhood of their stations. They trusted altogether to the paid department, and, while they themselves utilized their privileges as firemen simply for selfish purposes, they showed themselves in public only on gala days and at holiday parades —not in time of need. It is to be feared that there are too many volunteer departments resembling the disbanded companies of Auburn so closely that what is predicated of the latter may likewise be predicated of the former. A small, but efficient paid fire department will prove itself every time a thousandfold more efficient than one of amateurs, who pose as firemen only on state occasions and, furthermore, allow themselves to be utilized for partisan purposes by scheming, self-seeking politicians—to the great detriment of the public service.