Chief George S. Towle of Larchmont, N. Y., Who Conceived the Idea, Presented with Silver Loving Cup—Mayors Pledge City Cooperation


THE Fire Chiefs’ Emergency Plan of Westchester County, N. Y., a co-operative scheme for fire fighting assistance on a reciprocal basis between neighboring communities, took on added form at the first annual dinner of the composite organization at the Westchester Manor on Hutchinson River Parkway, Wednesday evening, May 28th. where expressions of renewed support for the scheme were heard from the Mayors of two cities and from the fire chiefs of other towns.

The idea was conceived by Chief George S. Towle of Larchmont. Formal recognition was symbolized by the presentation of a huge silver loving cup to Chief Towle, the first president of the organization. The presentation was made by Chief James Mulcahey of Yonkers, who proclaimed Chief Towle in the most laudatory way and said the fire departments and the people of Westchester county owe him a life long debt for his far-sightedness and his fire fighting ingenuity. Chief Towle in accepting the gift said he neither deserved or merited the trophy, that the bulk of the work of organization had been done by the committee rather than by himself, but that he would nevertheless be proud of the emblem for the rest of his life.

The toastmaster, Eugene Riviere of Larchmont, gave an outline of the plan in which he described the early efforts of Chief Towle to inaugurate a bond of understanding and camaraderie between neighboring chiefs, with a view to helping one another in time of conflagration or unusual or threatening conditions; that a committee of four was formulated, consisting of Chief Towle, Chief Walter Jones of New Rochelle, Chief Mulcahey of Yonkers and Chief John J. Brennan of Pelham Manor; that they held several meetings, and that to-day the Plan has about one hundred members, all with one another’s interest at heart, to encourage the advancement of fire fighting and to give one another the benefit of an interchange of ideas and opinions, as well as material help when needed.

Chief Mulcahey of Yonkers, secretary of the International Association of Fire Chiefs and an early advocate of the plan, said one of the best accomplishments thus far, was the assurance from New York City, guaranteeing aid in every respect at the hands of Chief John Kenlon, of whom he said some very complimentary things. He told of Kenlon’s assurances of response by the New York Department to border-line boxes in case of emergency and he dwelt on “the nicest feeling of congenial and courteous treatment every time the committee went to New York City.” Chief Mulcahey said there is “no greater tutor in the country to-day in fire fighting matters than John Kenlon, who has promised us at least one major assignment of apparatus if we ever find ourselves in need of help.”

Mayor James Berg of Mt. Vernon pledged the wholehearted support of his city. He likened the plan to the principle practised by farmers of the old school, who, when ill and unable to work their farms, were helped by their neighbors who came and gathered in their crops and did their chores for them until they had recovered.

“What a feeling of safety to know that an instrument of security is at your door in time of fire,” said the Mayor of Mt. Vernon, as he added that he has given Fire Chief John Gibson of that city permission to take all available apparatus to help any neighboring community. He wished the Plan success and branded it as one of the greatest assets of Westchester county.

Mayor Walter G. C. Otto of New Rochelle strongly advocated the Plan in a few terse words.

Dr. Amos O. Squire, Medical Examiner for Westchester County, was the guest speaker of the evening. He brought to the fire fighters a message of prevention and anticipation in which he cautioned them to take stock of local hazardous conditions and to make frequent surveys. He dwelt at length on a recent fire in a private hospital at Irvingtonon-the-Hudson, where heart ailments of children were specialized in, and of how water supply was found wanting when the fire occurred at 4.30 p. m. Fortunately, most of the little ones were playing on the lawns of the hospital grounds at that time. He described a condition which revealed that not only was there no water, but if there had been water, the electric pump that maintains the reserve supply was also found to be deficient. He recited other Westchester county fires and pointed to them as warnings of what the fire chiefs should do and look out for before a fire occurs. Dr. Squire gave some interesting statistics on the mortality of the county and urged that all fire departments equip themselves with resuscitating devices. He paid a flattering compliment to Dr. Harry M. Archer, Honorary Medical Officer of the New York Fire Department, for the work he has done along the lines of education in artificial respiration and its resultant conservation of human life.

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Chiefs’ Emergency Aid Plan Dinner

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Wm. Jerome Daly told the two hundred guests of how New York City sent a battalion of fire apparatus to the city of Baltimore in 1904 to aid that municipality to extinguish what remained of a $70,000,000 fire; that New York City has been meeting such emergencies occasionally and cited some of the instances in which help was sent out of the city to Camp Merritt, N. J., Jersey City and more frequently to the waterfront of the State of New Jersey where fireboats have saved the communities of Hoboken, Weehawken, Communipaw, Jersey City, Linden et al, millions of dollars and in doing so sometimes damaged the fire boats and injured some firemen.

The following newly elected officers for 1930-31 were installed: President—Chief H. E. McTavey of Mt. Kisco: 1st Vice-President—Chief A. W. Travis of Peekskill; 2nd Vice-President—Chief Eugene Conway of East Portchester; 3rd Vice-President—Chief Arthur Steuhl of Bronxville; Secretary-Treasurer—Eugene Riviere of Larchmont. The following were elected Directors for two years—Chief James Sullivan of Greenwich, Conn.; Chief Fred N. Lounsbury of Portchester; Chief John Gibson of Mt. Vernon; Charles W. Hagelston of Larchmont. The next meeting will be held in Mt. Vernon on the third Wednesday in June.

Others present were: Chief Walter Jones of New Rochelle, Chief J. J. Brennan of Pelham Manor; Chief Abbott Griffin of White Plains; Chief Gibson of Mt. Vernon; Chief Chet Dobbs of Scarsdale: Chief James Sullivan of Greenwich, Conn.: former Chief R. J. H. Lemmon of Larchmont; Chief A. W. Travis, Jr., of Peekskill; Fire Commissioner Fred Merkle of Portchester; Chief Charles Persche of Mamaroneck; Chief Edw. Garth of Elmsford; Chief Sam Dawson of Dobbs Ferry: Commissioner Thomas Elder of Dobbs Ferry; Chief Fred Langcloh of Rye; Chief John Brennan of Verplanck: Chief Eugene Conway of East Portchester, and scores of fire officers and firemen.

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