Chief H. L. Bixby Killed.
Henry L. Bixby, chief of the Newton, Mass., fire department, while on his way to a most insignificant fire on Monday afternoon was thrown from his wagon and received injuries which resulted in his death a few hours after the accident.
It was about 3 o’clock when an alarm was rung in from box 23 in the Newtonville district. Soon after the gong sounded at fire department headquarters in West Newton Assistant Chief Ranlett was on the road, closely followed by Chief Bixby and his driver, E. A. Kawson.
There was a clear road down Washington street (an extremely narrow thoroughfare) until Brookside avenue was reached. An electric car had stopped there, and an ice team, which had just made its way out of Brookside avenue, had partly blocked one side of the street.
There was very little room to pass with safety on the other side of the car, and Assistant Chief Ranlett therefore tried to turn up Brookside avenue, unfortunately coming in collision with a post. II is wagon was overturned and badly demolished and he was thrown out.
Chief Bixby had to choose between two alternatives. He could take the passageway over the wreckage where the assistant chief lay in the road, or chance getting through between the ice cart and the car. He chose the latter way, and a collision resulted.
His horse was thrown high in the air, but succeeded in clearing the wagon when again striking terra firma, and dashed down the road toward Newtonville square.
The force of the collision threw Chief Bixby and his driver from their wagon. The former struck on his head. He was picked up unconscious and taken to the Newtonville truck house. The driver, who received serious injuries, was taken to the Cottage Hospital. About the time the accident occurred the patrol wagon put in an appearance at the scene, and it was immediately dispatched for medical assistance.
1’hc injured chief partly regained consciousness, but only long enough to recognize his life-long friend, F. E. Humphrey. foreman of engine company 2, who was by his side, and to make the request to be removed to his home in West Newton.
The hasty examination made by the physicians established the fact that no bones were broken. The forehead was badly swollen, and there was a great lump on the head.
It was thought, however, that he would puli through all right. He was taken to his home in the police ambulance, and did not again return to consciousness. At 8:50 o’clock he passed away, death resulting, it is thought, from concussion of the brain. Assistant Chief Ranlett escaped with slight injuries. Driver Rawson’s condition is regarded as critical and fears are entertained of internal injuries.
Chief Henry I,. Bixby was born in Framingham and was 52 years of age. He went to West Newton with his parents to reside when a mere lad. His father, John Bixby, was the station agent at West Newton for a great many years. The deceased began going to tires when in his 13th year and was connected with the local lire company at that time, doing service on the famous handtub, Triton 3.
During the war he was a telegraph operator in Boston, and was an expert, acquiring the reputation of being one of the best telegraphers in the state. He succeeded his father as depot master at West Newton soon after the war, and filled that position until 1878, when he was appointed chief of the Newton fire department. Before receiving his appointment as chief, he had filled the office of assistant chief under Chiefs Whipple and Ellis, both veterans in tire matters. .
He earned the reputation of being one of the best fire fighters in the state, and was noted for the qualities he possessed in the way of discipline and management. He was a man of more than ordinary executive ability, and had the advantage of of an excellent education. He stood very high in the opinion of firemen in various parts of thecountry, and was a prominent member and ex-officer of the Newton h ire Association. He was president of the Newton Firemen’s Relief Association and a member of various social and secret organizations, including Dalhousie lodge, F. A. M. Personally, he was a man of genial manners, sympathetic and honest in character, a reliable friend and an excellent citizen. No man who has held official position in Newton will be more sincerely mourned. A widow, two sons and two daughters survive him.