Bridgeton, N. J., Fire Department
Bridgeton, N. J., which has a population of about fifteen thousand, thinks its fire department should be placed on a more efficient basis if its citizens are to derive the highest benefit from that department. George Kinkle, chief, and members of the department raised objection to motors being adopted, which caused Corporation Counsel Stanger to look into the ordinance providing for a fire department. It was a great surprise to everyone when the city offiffeial announced that the ordinance creating and providing for the maintenance of a fire department was repealed three years ago when the new charter went into effect, and that the city was at present operating its fire department without any legal authority to do so. The City Council will now prepare an ordinance providing for a fire department. The intention of the firemen had been to purchase an automobile fire engine to take the place of the present horse-drawn engine and dispose of this, keeping the newer machine. which has recently been rebuilt. A wellpaid force of half a dozen men on duty at the firehouse all the time, some of them to be used as traffic officers at nearby street crossings when their services were not needed at the firehouse, has also been proposed. This plan has been repeatedly urged by Commissioner of Public Safety George H. Hughes, who has charge of the department, and Councilman John M. Laning, chairman of Council’s Fire Committee. “Bridgeton has 39 miles of streets,” said Mr. Laning at the conference, “and the time has arrived when steps should be taken for quicker and more effective service at fires. Figures show that the majority of fires here are handled by the chemical engine and that some of the more serious fires could have been taken care of by having the steamer and men on the ground at the very start. The method and equipment are at fault, not the men.” Mr. Laning suggests that the present force be retained to report for duty in case of a second call. Engineer George Miller, one of the department’s veterans, asserts, however, that the same amount of money applied to the water main service would be more effective than the purchase of an automobile engine. There are 25 members of the present fire department and with the exception of the chief and one or two others they receive $5 each per month and some tax exemption. The real question, it is asserted by some city officials, is not the cost of an automobile steamer, but the increased payroll which would result from the reorganization of the department.