Chief Davis Vindicated

Chief Davis Vindicated

Ross B. Davis, Chief of Fire Department, Philadelphia, Pa., with whom the present Mayor has been at odds for some time, was vindicated of charges filed against him by Battalion Chief Charles A. Gill.

Since the Civil Service Commission never was called before to decide on charges brought against an officer by an inferior officer, it asked the Director of Public Safety for an explanation. No explanation was given, but the formal charges were returned over the signature of the Director of Public Safety.

The present charges were that Davis neglected to answer to two different fire alarms. After listening to the evidence, the Commission gave out the following findings:

“The gist of the charges against the accused is that he is alleged to have failed to respond to two different alarms of fire, one of which was a false alarm. This Commission has heard the evidence and has had full opportunity to gage the veracity and credibility of the witnesses. We therefore find as a fact that Chief Engineer Ross B. Davis was not neglectful of duty nor disobedient in either of the charges, In one case. i.e. 16th and Vine Streets, on October 8. 1938, at 9:07 p.m., he arrived on the flreground as soon as humanly possible, and moved on. because he was so signalled by the driver of Battalion Chief Gill’s car. This was in accordance with the custom of the Bureau of Fire.

“In the other case, i.e. 25th and Spruce Streets, on November 20, 1938, at 6:481/2 p.m.. the false alarm, the fire engines were at the alarm box approximately three and one-half minutes. The engine’s returned to their station, leaving patrolmen of the 19th District at the alarm box. These patrolmen testified that Chief Engineer Davis arrived right after the fire companies left. It would have been impossible for the Chief Engineer to have arrived sooner. In both instances, the Chief Engineer performed his duties in accordance with his orders. The Commission also finds fact that the record of Chief Engineer Ross B. Davis in the Bureau of Fire is as follows:

“Appointed March 9. 1895. Hoseman: January 24, 1901. promoted to Assistant Foreman; February 1, 1906, promoted to Foreman January l, 1913, promoted to District Engineer, title changed to Battalion Chief; January 24, 1914, promoted to Deputy Chief Kngineer: December 23. 1920. promoted to Chief Engineer.

“Chief Engineer Ross B. Davis in his more than 43 years in the Bureau of Fire has never had charges preferred against him before. In his executive capacity, he has developed the Bureau into one of unparalleled excellence and has earned nationally the regard of all the experts in his line of endeavor. He is a courageous. competent and efficient officer. The Commission takes this opportunity to commend him upon the gentlemanly fore bearance he has shown in the trying conditions under which he has hud to work recently.

Order and Deeree

  1. The Civil Service Commission unanimously orders that the charges in this case against Chief Kngineer Ross B. Davis, of the Bureau of Fire, be and hereby are dismissed, and that the record Of these proceedings be marked that he is Not Guilty.
  2. The Commission further directs the Director of Public Safety to divide the ranking officers, i.e. the Chief Kngineer and the Deputy Chief Kngineer of the Bureau of Fire, as specified by the Ordinance of City Council, into two platoons in accordance with the spirit of the Act of Assembly, under which the other members of the Bureau of Fire are separated. assigning each to not more than twelve hours duty a day, except in cases of emergency.
  3. The City Solicitor is directed, if necessary, to enforce this order and decree forthwith with appropriate legal action, in consonance with sections 17 and 27 of the Act of Assembly, approved June 25, 1919, and amendments thereto.”
Chief Ross B. Davis (right) Confers With Attorney Robert McCracken at the Civil Service Trial

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