Congratulations to New York Fire Force.
Fire Commissioner Nicholas J. Hayes, of New York, in a letter to Mayor McClellan on the subiect of the triple visitation of fires on the night of January 7, in lower Manhattan, points out that “probably never before, since the establishment in the city of the paid fire department, has it been brought face to face with the conditions that last night confronted it, and never before has it had opportunity to signally and so effectively to demonstrate its resourcefulness and its capacity for meeting an emergency. * * * It is but an illustration of the effectiveness of the organisation of the uniformed force, and of its high state of efficiency, that, notwithstanding the fact that companies were called from many other sections of the borough of Manhattan to light these fires, no part of the borough was left unprotected, companies from farther sections being moved to the quarters of those which were absent at the three fires, and all of Manhattan being fully covered. Everything moved with the precision of clockwork, and it is of interest to note that at one and the same time more than 160 pieces of department apparatus, consisting of engines, hook and ladder trucks, hose wagons, water towers, and fuel wagons, were in motion, either in responding to these fires, or on their way to cover territory temporarily left unprotected. I cannot speak in too strong terms of commendation of the efficiency of the material and personnel of the uniformed force of this department, and of their demonstrated ability to cope successfully with any and every emergency that may confront them, and the people of the city of New York may well congratulate themselves that their lives and property are safeguarded by this splendid body of men.”
Mayor McClellan in reply wrote as follows :
“January 8. 1909.
“To the Fire Commissioner, City of New York:
“Sir: Please convey to the members of the uniformed force my congratulations on their very good work at last night’s fires. It was a severe test of the hirdi pressure system, and it proved the system’s worth beyond doubt. The men’s intelligent use of the new method added in great measure to its efficiency.
“Yours very truly,
“GEORGE B. MCCLELLAN, “Mayor.” It may be noticed that up to 8 o’clock on the morning of January 8 the new auxiliary system had delivered 11,226,000 gal. of water at the sites of the three fires. The maximum delivery was 34,000 gal. a minute at a pressure of 225 lb. The electric current used for the whole operation cost $903. The New York Tribune, writing editorially, on the auxiliary system, does not gush over it as the other citv papers do. The article admits that it is of “great value,” hut at the same time says that at every fire of consequence where it has been used the “tremendous force of the stream has wrenched the hose from the hands of the firemen, putting them in danger and diminishing the immediate efficiency of the attack. * * * One experience of this wrenching loose of the hose should have taught a sufficient lesson to the fire chief and his deputies; but the same story of failure to control the hose accompanies the account of the fires of Thursday night, ff it were found in the first instance that two men could not handle a nozzle, more men should have been detailed for that duty at subsequent fires. * * * This agency should not be impaired by hecdlcssncss. The department of water supply, gas and electricity has conducted classes among the firemen on the intricacies of the valves and signals. They are approaching efficiency in that respect. The fire chief and his deputies should be as thorough in their instruction of the m#n in the handling of the hose after it has been properly attached. There is a critical period at each fire when all the available streams must be concentrated at a given point to prevent a conflagration. One hose put out of business may mean the lack of sufficient water for an effective check to the flames.”
According to the superintendent of State police, who is also State tire marshal, during the year ending July 1, 1908, there were 1,123 fires in Connecticut as compared with 1,196 in the year ending July 1, 1907. Seventeen complaints were made to the department of fires of suspicious origin, and six of these resulted in convictions for incendiarism.