Chief Randlett, of Newton, Dies
Chief Walter B. Randlett, of the Newton, Mass., fire department, died suddenly on March 3. His death was due directly to his work as a fireman. About three weeks ago when a blaze seriously damaged the building of Newton Club in Newtonville, Chief Randlett inhaled fumes from a broken refrigerator pipe and in consequence suffered dilation of the heart. The weather was cold and he contracted a severe cold which developed into pneumonia
Since 1894 Chief Randlett has been head of the Newton fire department. He was 70 years of age last November and lived at 63 Bowen St., Newton Centre. He was born in East Milton and when a young man became a call member of the Milton fire department. In October, 1884, he went to Newton as fire alarm operator.
On March 16, 1885, Randlett became assistant chief of the Newton fire department, which at that time consisted of only 14 permanent firemen. In July, 1894, Chief Henry Bixby was killed while responding to an alarm and later the same month Randlett was named as chief and had held the position ever since. Under his administration the Newton fire department grew to a force of 34 permanent men with 13 pieces of motor apparatus. In 1903 he installed a Stanley steam automobile in the Newton department and this is said to have been one of the first motor cars used in the fire service in this country.
Chief Randlett was a member of the Massachusetts Fire Chiefs’ Club, International Association of Fire Engineers, New England Electrical Inspectors’ Association, Dorchester lodge of Odd Fellows, and Dalhousie lodge, A. F. and A. M., of Ncwtonvillc.
He is survived by his wife, a daughter, Mrs. William E. Ness, of Newton Highlands, and two sons, Walter G. Randlett, of Kirkland, Wash., and Capt. Clarence W. Randlett, of the Newton Fire Department.
Chief Randlett was the oldest active chief in Massachusetts since the retirement of Chief George Johnson, of Brookline, last fall. Funeral services were held on Thursday afternoon, March 6, in Trinity Episcopal Church at Newton Centre. Rev. Laurens MacLure officiated and the ushers were Mayor Edwin O. Childs, of Newton; Chief George H. Johnson, of the Waltham Fire Department; City Clerk Frank Grant, of Newton; Alderman T. W. White, Street Commissioner G. E. Stuart, Louis W. Ross, and William H. Rice.
There was a detail of fifty firemen in uniform at the services together with many members of the Fire Chiefs’ Club of Massachusetts led by Chief James M. Casey, of Cambridge; the Box 52 Association, of Boston; executives of the Gamewcll Fire Alarm Telegraph Company; Chief John O. Taber and Deputy Chief Daniel F. Sennott, of the Boston Fire Department; Superintendent Henry Thompson, of the Boston Protective Department; Asst. State Fire Marshal Maxwell C. Hutchinson, and others.
The pallbearers were Capt. Michael Turner, of Newton Highlands; Capt. Benjamin Tripp, of Newton; Capt. Eugene Whiting, of Chestnut Hill; Capt. Edward Waterhouse, retired; Lt. Oscar Colby, of West Newton; Lt. Edward Burke, of Nonantum; Lent, bred Perkins, of Newton Lower Falls; Hoseman E. J. Henrikus, of Newton Centre; Hoseman Richard Coady, of Newton; and Foreman Marcel Orleans, who was Chief Randlett’s chauffeur. Burial was held privately in Milton cemetery.
During the services every man that could be spared from the Waltham and Watertown fire departments was detailed to the Newton fire stations so that the Newton firemen could attend the funeral. The Newton City Hall was closed at noon. Many handsome floral tributes were sent to the church.