Convention of The Massachusetts State Firemen’s Association.



BROCKTON, MASS., a city of Plymouth county, on the Old Colony road, about twenty miles from Boston, has this year been chosen as the place of meeting for the seventeenth annual convention of the Massachusetts State Firemen’s Association under the presidency of Chief Louis P. Webber, of Boston.

It is a thriving city of nearly 30,000 inhabitants, and,like so many others in Massachusetts, is devoted to the manufacture of boots and shoes. Its fire-area is 14,000 acres, in which are to be found many fine business and public buildings from four to five stories high, chiefly brick and stone, with large schools and no scarcity of churches. Many of its private residences are handsome and spacious, surrounded by extensive grounds welt laid out in lawn and flower gardens. There are published in the city two daily papers, the Despatch, every morning except Sunday, advocating Republican politics,the Enterprise, every evening except Sunday, independent, and two weekly, the Enterprise and the Gazette, independent—each with a good local circulation. The Brockton fire department consists of 5 steam fire engines, I hand engine. 3 chemical engines on wheels, 10 chemical extinguishers, 2 hook and ladder tracks, t aerial truck, 3 hose carriages, all kinds, 4 hose wagons, 3 supply wagons; hose, cotton,good, it,000 feet; 26 horses, value $6,500; value of fire department equipment $45,000; value of buildings occupied $45,ooo;total annual expenses of department $44,900; total membership 128, paid full time 2S, paid part time, loo; Gameweli alaim, 54 street boxes. Chief engineer, Harry L. Marstin. The water supply of the city is abundant, having as its source the Salisbury brook. The capacity of the reservoir is 280,000,000 gallons; of the standpipe,1,300,000 gallons. The pumping engines are of the Worthington make, with a daily capacity of 3,000,000 gallons. Of pipe there are over 50 miles—the diameter being 30 to 6 inches; of hydrants there are nearly 470; valves 376; taps 3.500; meters, Thomson. Union, Crown, Hersey, etc., 2,478. The pressure is from 18 to 70 pounds. The water works, which are owned by the city,and originally cost $582,000, have cost to date $612,000, and are run at an annual expenditure of between $6,000 and $7,000.


In the year 1883 the Massachusetts State Firemen’s Associntion was inaugurated with fourteen members. Its object was to bind together in one common bond of union the different fire departments in the State,and to establish an organization that should serve to benefit their members and make them acquainted with each other—so that each might be filled with that brotherly spirit which enables the one to sympathize with the other and to come to his help in time of need. It was besides felt that firemen had much to learn so as to become experts in the art of fire-fighting, and that this could best be accomplished by their meeting together at intervals and discussing matters connected with their calling, thereby serving the cause of humanity by adopting such measures for the preservation of life and property from fire as the experience of the many was able to present to the members.

In addition to that, the fact, born of too many casualties, was forced upon them that firemen— volunteers as well as paid — were often snatched away by a sudden and violent death, which overtook them as they fought against the common enemy, or died from the effects of illness contracted while battling with the flames or from injuries received in the way of duty, leaving wives and children unprovided for; and the further facts were recognized that, whatever his course towards the end of his ca-.eerin this world, no fireman was too well paid, considering the nature of his work and the risks inherent in it, and that each one deserved too well of the public to be allowed to pursue his calling without being assured of some provision being made for those whom he leaves behind. Hence arose the movement to have such provision guaranteed, so that the citizens of the State should never be at any loss to keep the ranks of their several fire departments well filled with men in every respect fitted for their task of fire protection through lack of substantial public encouragement.

The idea of forming a firemen’s relief fund took tangible shape in 1890, when, thanks to the efforts of the Massachusetts State Firemen’s Association,there was created a Firemen’s Relief Fund. Its beginning was due to an enactment of the State legislature in the year already mentioned, when the sum of $10,000 was voted and paid from the State treasury to the treasury of the MassachusettsS tate Firemen’s Association to be distributed by a board of commissioners for the relief of firemen injured in the discharge of their duty and for the widows and children of deceased firemen, the act providing that all unexpended moneys of this appropriation at date of July 1, 1891, should be returned to the treasurer of the State. Through the efforts of the association the grai was made permanent.

Meanwhile the reorganization itself has grown rapidly and last year when it met at Pittsfield in its sixteenth annual convention boasted a membership of 1,102, with receipts amounting to $2,054.13. the balance remaining to be carried forward being $857. Nearly 120 cities and towns are enrolled in the association, whose conventions year by year are becoming more and more influential outside of the State and conspicuous for the learning and research, as well as the practical nature of the papers read and the discussions arising therefrom.

This year the seventeenth annual convention meets at Brockton, the officers for the year being as follows: President, Chief Lewis P. Webber, of Boston; secretary, D. Arthur Burt, of Taunton: treasurer. Captain H. R.Williamson, of Worcester; vice-presidents, Assistant Chief F. H. Humphrey, of Newton, Chief W. O. Arnold, of Salem, Chief George H. Kendall (the late), of Fitchburg, Captain W. F-. Coffin, of Beverly, Chief J. T. Lynch, of Holyoke, Chief W. O. Whitmarsh, of Braintree, Chief Colonel Melvin Bell, of Lawrence, Captain Thomas P. Welch, of Adams; executive committee (3 years), J. H. Daley, of Pittsfield, former Chief Charles S. Marchant, of Gloucester, former Chief S. C. Reid, of Newburyport; trustees $10,000 fund, Chief E. I.. Ilosmer, of Lowell, F. A. Cheney, of Haverhill; sergeant-at-arms, C. H. Hooper.




Chief Harry L. Marston reports that the fire department of Brockton,Mass.,has purchased an extra No. 1 steam fire engine of the La France Fire Engine Company, of Elmira N. Y., aud a double hose wagon from the Abbott Downing Company, Concord, N. H. With these, the apparatus of the department consists of 5 steam fire engines, 1 Babcock aerial truck and portable water tower, 1 city ladder truck, 2 double-tank Babcock chemical engines, 1 double-tank Holloway chemical engine, 1 two-horse hose wagon, 3 one-horse hose wagons, 3 two-horse supply wagons, 1 hand engine and reel, 1 one-hose reel (in reserve), 1 hand reel at city farm, 1 chief’s buggy; with 24 horses and a little over 10,000 feet of hose in good condition, 1,000 having been added during the year. The permanent force consists of 28 members, including the chief, who are housed in three stations, There were eight keyless boxes ready to be added to the fire-alarm system on January 1, 1895, which would give 53 boxes with 16 miles of iron and 17 1-2 of copper wire; 3 tower strikers and bells, 35 tappers and gongs. The receipts, with balance on hand December 1, 1893 ($2,354.09) appropriation ($42,500) and other receipts ($851.50), were $45,705.57; the expenditures, $44,959.58. During 1894 there were 118 alarms of fire, destroying $102,555 worth of property (estimated insurance value, $1,533,010, insured for $1,058,309), on which $56,729.10 insurance was paid, leaving a fire loss above insurance of $45,825.00. In Chief Marston and his men (more of whom are needed), Brockton possesses a thoroughly compecent force of fire-fighters.