Chief Gerstung of Elizabeth
Chief August Gerstung, who commands the Elizabeth, N. J., fire department, recommended in his report of the operations of the department for last year, that an ordinance be passed as early as possible requiring the use of fire resistive roofing within the city limits and thus eliminate the wood shingles, saying: “We have a great number of such roofs in our city and have been very fortunate in keeping down the fires and not meeting the same fate as some of our Southern cities have experienced during the year. Shingle roofs are directly responsible for a great number of large fires which took place throughout the country during the past fifteen years. We also find that the cities of Trenton, Paterson, Hoboken, Perth Amboy and Newark have enacted ordinances prohibiting the use of shingles within tbe city limits; only fireproof roofing being permitted in the erection of new buildings and in renewals of old roots.’ ( lticf Gerstung states that while during the past year fourteen new hydrants had been put in service there is still need for more as in some districts the hydrants arc far apart and long lines of hose are required to reach a fire and recommended that more hvdrants be installed during the year. He also stated that as there are some districts where the alarm boxes arc far apart and since the extinguishment of fires depends largely on the promptness with which the alarm is given, he trusts it will he possible to install new boxes where most needed. He again urges that the most urgent need of the department is additional men tor the permanent force, staling: “While it is true that a number of men now attending the horses will become available for fire fighting when the department is motorized, it is also a fact that the department force will still be short and inadequate as it should have it least eight men to a company in order to properly handle the apparatus and hose to prevent large fires and their development.” According to the chief’s report, three hundred and fifty-three alarms of fire were responded to during the year 1916, These included 176 bell alarms and 177 still alarms. Eleven of the total number of alarms were false alarms. The total loss for the year amounted to only $90,042.05, being $43,196 on buildings and $46,845.89 on contents. The insurance on contents and buildings amounted to $1,497,200, making an excess insurance over loss of $1,407,157.95. The manual rorce of the department consists of seventy-five permanent men and thirty call men. There were seven engine companies and three truck companies.