Chief Richard Lee Smith Retires

Chief Richard Lee Smith Retires

On July 1, Chief Richard Lee Smith, who has been connected with the Pittsburgh, Pa., Fire Department for 35 years, tendered his resignation to Safety Director Thomas A. Dunn, of that city. The interference on the part of Mayor with the administration of the Fire Department is reported to have been the underlying cause of Chief Smith’s leaving the department.

During his incumbency as head of the Department. Chief Smith brought the per capita fire loss down to the lowest figure of any city of equal size in the nation.

Since the inauguration of Mayor McNair, the department has never been entirely free from political interference. On March 1 of 1934, the mayor dismissed Chief Smith without preliminary notice. As a result of pressure brought by various civic leaders, Chief Smith was re-instated early in 1935.

Chief Smith came from a fire-fighting family, being born, in 1878, the son of Fire Captain Leonard Smith. Young Richard was named after Richard Lee, the Union general, under whom his father had served in the Civil War.

Once Chief Smith entered the fire service, his rise was steady and rapid. He achieved the distinction of placing first in every Civil Service examination he ever took. After two months as a sub-hosetiian he became a regular fireman. and in 1902 was appointed a driver of horse drawn apparatus. By 1907 Chief Smith was a lieutenant end in 1913 he was made a captain. Five years later he was District Chief for the downtown area and in 192b he attained promotion to the post of Chief.

Chicago has awarded bravery certificates to Division Marshal John J. Costello. Battalion Chief John Kalvey and Capt. William T. Moloney. The honor list also included eight Lieutenants and thirty-five firemen.

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