Convention of New York State Fire Chiefs

Convention of New York State Fire Chiefs

The program arranged for the annual convention of the New York State Fire Chiefs’ Association, at Elmira, N. Y., is as follows: First day, June 2S—Distribution of badges and collection of dues at Secretary’s office in City Hall from 12 in. to 1 p. m. Meeting called to order at 1.45 p. m. at City Hall by John H. Kspev, president of Association. Invocation by Rev. R. Lew Williams. Address of Welcome by Hon. Harry N. Hoffman, Mayor of Elmira. Response in behalf of the Association by Chief John Mack of Glens Falls, N. Y. Reading records of last meeting, Secretary Henry R. Yates, Chief Schenectady Fire Department. Topic No. 1—“Electric Fires. Their Causes and Methods of Extinguishment.” Chief Thomas O’Connor, General Electric Plant, Schenectady, N. Y. Topic No. 2—“Advantages to the Fire Department by the Removal of Dangerous Overhead Wires.” Chief Fred Bower of Rome, N. Y. Topic No. 3— “The Superiority of Motor Apparatus Over Hand or Horse-Drawn for Smaller Cities or Towns.” Chief Forbush of Peekskill, N. Y. 4.15 P. M.—Leave in autos, provided by Elmira Auto Club, for American-La France Plant. 5.30 P. M.—Leave American-La France Plant for Exempt Firemen’s Rooms where dinner will be served to visiting delegates. 8.00 P. M.—Leave Exempts’ Rooms for Roricks Glen Theatre; attend performance as guests of American-La France Co. Second Day, June 29.—9.15 A. M.—Elmira Fire Department will exhibit Motor Aerial Truck at City Hall. 9.30 A. M.—Topic No. 4—”Red Cross First Aid.” A. G. Wicks of Schenectady, N. Y. Topic No. 5—“Handling of Telephone Alarms.” Chief Mulcahcy of Yonkers, N. Y. Unfinished business. New business. Election and Installation of Officers. Report of Treasurer. Afternoon, 1.30 P. M.—Leave on street cars for Eldridge Park to witness demonstration of 900 gallon Pumper and Junior Pump. Leave Eldridge Park for No. 5’s House where demonstration of Junior Pump attached to hydrant will be given. Street cars to city.

Chief John H. Espey, of Elmira, N. Y.
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The eleventh annual meeting of the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs was held at Peekskill, New York, on June 23rd and 24th. The meeting was called to order by the president at half-past one on Wednesday in the club room of Hook and Ladder Co., No. 1. Opening prayer was said by Rev. J. Wilbur Tetley, after which L. F. Crumb, president of the village of Peekskill, delivered his address of welcome. He called attention to the fact that Peekskill is the largest village in the United States and requires a department with the efficiency of a first-class city. “The position of fire chief is one which requires tact, bravery and knowledge, and a man must possess all of these requirements to fill such a position. Great improvements are being made in this field and Peekskill is keeping well abreast of the times. It was the first city in the state to put in a motor pumping engine and under the direction of Chief Forbush our department has made great strides. Recently a member of the local department stated that the city had appropriated $12,000 for a motor driven truck, and would have appropriated more for this purpose had it been necessary. This gives an idea of the support which is tendered our department. Fire is one of the best servants when conrtolled, but one of the worst enemies when uncontrolled.” Response in behalf of the state association was made by F.ugene Stocker of Cooperstown, New York, former deputy fire marshal of New York State, who said, in part:

Address by Eugene Stocker.

The ready hospitality of the good people of Peekskill has been well known since the stirring days of the Revolution, when the American and British armies alternately occupied the towns and fastnesses of the rocky Highlands bordering the historic Hudson and helped to make those times more endurable for our men in battle. Your beautiful city situated so pleasantly on the banks of the Hudson has many interesting and historic events connected with it, probably the oldest river town, yet located quite by accident. Since that time the thrift and intelligence of the people have wrought together for the progress of this interesting place. Peekskill, too, has furnished its share of noted men and remarkable women to the world. Peekskill is to be congratulated in being chosen as the place of meeting by the State Association of Fire Chiefs, for this is the first time in the history of our anniversaries that a city below Albany has been so honored. No braver firemen exist than those alotifj the Hudson Valley and as a mark of recognition I heartily commend the wise decision of the managers that bring us all here with you today. We appreciate the entertainment and courtesy of the committee, extended in honor of the fire laddies of the State. Civic organizations are constantly being formed for every purpose imaginable. We elect our legislative bodies; just now we “have with us,” to use the phrase, the Constitutional Convention, amending laws, making new the foundations of the State. Yet, what organization, what legislative body, what convention is charged with the reduction of the fire waste of the country? None. The fire waste in the United States and Canada in 1914 was $235,000,000, safe to say that the United States’ portion was $175,000,000. This is the largest year since 1908 revealing the discouraging fact that all attempts to awaken the public to the importance of exerting all possible effort for fire prevention have thus far produced no results for the whole country. There is some improvement, I think, in communities which was largely the result of the activity of the now extinct department of State Fire Marshal. This appalling loss b ing distributed over such a large area, the people naturally regard it with indifference. A country-wide campaign for the decrease of fire losses would be worth while. Let the State Fire Chiefs Association take up this work in its energetic and intelligent way and really do something, and use practical means to do it. It has been said that political parties know the price of everything and the value of nothing. The cry of economy was not applicable nor warranted when the splendid work of the Department of State Fire Marshal was taken into consideration. Regardless of politics, regardless of partisan issues or campaign promises, the work of this department should be continued for the good of the State. A certain portion, however, of the statute has been taken over by the Labor Department, and I am sure Labor Commissioner Lynch will be glad to co-operate with the association in the matter of fire hazards in so far as his jurisdiction will allow. It remains, therefore, for the chiefs of the country to take some drastic step toward conservation of property. It is shown by the reports from abroad that the inhabiants of the European countries are vastly more economical in the conservation of their resources. And comparing our own methods with those of foreie” countries, we must be condemned as wasteful and extravagant. I recognize that before me sit not only the mentality by which the stupendous task of the reduction of fire waste may be had, but that you are the practical workers. We appeal to you, the real fire fighters, to the chief of every fire department in the state to commence the reduction of the fire waste and apply modern methods of fire prevention in his own particular locality. The actual knowledge disseminated at our annual conventions by discussion and instructive papers written by our members make this association rank foremost among organizations of its kind in the United States.


Roll call followed Mr. Stocker’s address, and the following members were present;


W. W. Bridgeford, Albany, N. Y.; Chas. N. Hogg, Binghamton, N. Y.; C. Fred Johnson, Lcstershirc, N. Y.; Clifton K. Forbush, Peckskill, N. Y.; Ray J. Fuller, Frankfort, N. Y.; John Kenlon, New York City; Eugene Stocker, Cooperstown, N. Y.; John Mack, Glens Falls, N. Y.; Walter Curtis, Geneva, N. Y.; R. J. Newman, Cape Vincent, N. Y.; J. j. Mulcahey, Yonkers, N. Y.; H. R, Yates, Schenectady, N. Y.; Chas. H. Nagle, Beacon, N. Y; John H. F.spey, Elmira, N. Y.; James Rose, New Rochelle, N. Y.; Geo. St. John, No. Tarrytown, N. Y.: Geo. M. Bower, Rome, N. Y.; H. T. Moody, Sherrill, N. Y.; F. H. Ernenwein, Oneida, N. Y.; M. J. Grimley, Mechanicville, N. Y.; E. M. Stoker, Rhinebeck, N. Y.; T. C. Collin, Cohoes, N. Y.; R. Purcell, Richfield Springs, N. Y.; Patrick Brvon, Troy, N. Y.; Chas. B. Hidley, Wyantskill, N. Y.; D. J. Sullivan, Utica, N. Y.; J. F. Hand, Mt. Vernon, N. Y.; Thos. O’Connor, G. E. Co., Schenectady, N. Y.; E. J. Coonev, Little Falls, N. Y.; John Crotty, Oneonta, N. Y.; Albin Spitzer, Scotia, N. Y.: F. C. Hoch, Goshen, N. Y.; Chas. Higham. Middletown, N. Y.; W. H. Flanders, Mt. Vernon. N. Y.

Honorary Members.

A. D. Fanchcr, Binghamton, N. Y.; John P. Quigley, Syracuse, N. Y.; P. J. Gillespie, Dobbs Ferry, N. Y.; L. S. Starrett, New York City; Fred Sheppcrd, IMRE AND WATER ENGINEERING, New York; G. R. Mitchell, Binghamton, N. Y.; Wm. T. Richcrt, New York City; Geo. W. Poole, Seagrave Co.; C. D. Stewart, American-La France Co.; R. D. Hazzard, New York City; G. S. Hook, Schenectady, N. Y.; A. L. Chadscy, Schenectady, N. Y.; A. L. Tinker, New York City; Thurston A. Crounse, Oneonta, N. Y.; J. P. Moloney, Pyrene Co., N. Y. C; John McElroy, Newark, N. L; R. J. Cowen, Mechanicville, N. V., and John P. Powers, Ossining, N. Y.



J. P. Watson, Binghamton, N. Y.; Henry Weber, Schenectady, N. Y.; Edmond Yates, Schenectady, N. Y.; A. Freeland, N. Y. C.; Chas. A. Minncrly, No. Tarrytown, N. Y.

Minutes of the last year’s meeting were read by the secretary and approved, after which G. S. Hook, of Schenectady, X. Y., delivered a short address in mcnory of the departed members. In part he said:


The resistless flight of time, which is measuring out the allotted span of life to each and every one of us, brings to-day the message that since our last meeting two of our number have been called to the “great beyond”. Therefore, it well becomes us, who have gathered for the business session of this our eleventh annual meeting to pause in our proceedings and offer a ten-minute tribute of respect to their mcories, while we contemplate their lives and public services:

George Nagengast, Died November 30th, 1914, Age, 62 Years.

The name of Chief Nagengast is so closely associated with the Poughkeepsie Volunteer Fire Department that to recount his services to that city as a fireman would be almost the same as narrating the history and development of that department for the past 40 years. Known as the fireman’s friend, his was a very true and substantial friendship, which was expressed not so much in words as in deeds, and many a project and improvement became a reality through his generosity and able financial support. His service in the departtnent covered a period of forty-four years. Entering the ranks of Niagara Engine Co., N. in INTO, he rose through the successive positions of foreman and first assistant chief to that of chief engineer in 1902. As chief he took a prominent part in the modernizing of both apparatus and equipment, and it was his aim to place his department among the most progressive in the State. Greatly esteemed by the firemen and citizens in general, his loss is deplored throughout the city. He was one of the charter members of this association, and was a familiar figure at our meetings. Peace be to his ashes!


Frederick S. Groves, Died June 1st, 1915, Aged 77 Years.

Seldom has it fallen to the lot of anyone to pass through the strenuous situations of a long life spent in the fire service of a great city and leave behind him a character so spotless, a reputation so enviable and a record so worthy of emulation as did Superintendent Groves of the New York Fire Patrol. In looking over his record, as set forth by the New York Board of Fire Underwriters, one characteristic stands out in bold relief—that to aid him in both the arduous field work of the salvage corps and in his higher and more perplexing executive duties as superintendent, he possessed an enthusiasm and self-devotion that was inspiring to his officers and comrades alike. He brought to the Fire Patrol the ripened experience of years in the old New York Volunteer Fire Dept., and thus was splendidly equipped to blaze the way for meeting the many new hazards which came with the rapid growth and development of the city. It is perhaps needless to say that a man of Mr. Groves’ temperament is always on the alert for new ideas and progressive methods, and he was a firm believer in free exchange of views with others and in full discussion of problems in order to reach their correct solution. To this end he looked with favor upon the project to form an organization of fire chiefs in this State, and was one of our charter members, always evincing great interest in our proceedings, ana often in attendance at our meetings. Cheerful and warm-hearted, his friendship was highly prized by those who secured it, so that socially, mentally and morally he was an ornament to the personnel of the American fire service. As a guide to those still in the harness of active duty, and in its influence for good, his was surely a life worth while.

Address by Chief Kenlon.

While Chief Kenlpn was down on the program for a paper on “The Advantages so far received from Auto Apparatus compared with horse drawn Apparatus,” he had not prepared anything special on the subject and spoke from notes only. In part he said: I don’t know whether you will appreciate a straight fire talk after hearing the interesting addresses by previous speakers. The subject of motor apparatus as compared with horse drawn apparatus is somewhat old to-day, and I am not going to make much of a comparison because motor apparatus has so many good points, but 1 have received so many inquiries from all points that 1 believe a general summary would not be out of place. I am going to take up all annaratus but compare none in as far as the different makes arc concerned. I think the first thing to be considered in fire apparatus is reliability; getting to the fire is the most important point. In’ so far as decoration and general appearance goes they are of absolutely no consequence and in fire fighting are not worth 5 cents. You must be able to get your apparatus to the fire and when you are there you must be sure it is going to do its work. This is the first quality to be considered. We have in use many motor driven fire trucks and have greater facilities for testing them than probably any of you here have. We have also ten times as much use for them. To get out of the station when the alarm sounds is the main point of importance. We have been able to clear out of the station in less than twenty seconds, throughout the whole year, even in the nighttime. For a long distance the motor apparatus is far superior to horses—on long runs there is no question as to the superiority of the motor. I have been at fires in New York City, and sent in the second alarm. Motor apparatus would be at the fire and in action long before the horses drew’ up. Another point which arises in my mind is whether the motor apparatus is subjected to more brakedowns than the horse drawn apparatus. The following gives a summary of this in tabulated form:

A large percentage of these costs of repairs is due to inexperience and careless drivers. Horse drivers cannot be made into chauffers and especially when the time for preparation is limited they are thoroughly incapable for such service. The comparison between a motor hook and ladder truck and a horse-drawn truck is as follows: Motor driven cost of repairs, $83.26, gasoline, $74.60, total cost $157.86, 17 days out of service. Horse-drawn hook and ladder truck cost of repairs, $43.61, cost of keeping horses, $900, total costs $943.61, tlhree days out of service. On the question of economy the motor apparatus is far superior to the horse drawm, but a department requires more spare apparatus when motorized than when horse drawn. As an average, I would say the reserve apparatus necessary is as follows: Hook and ladder truck, one in ten; carriers of hose, one in eight; steam engines, one in eight; motor engines, one in five.


We have gone over the questions of specifications in pumping engines and have decided that it is best to leave the specifications as to piston, gears or centrifugal pump to the designer. We favor between 80 and 100 H. P., with piston speed not more than 1,100 feet per minute. Fourty-eight H. P. we consider fair for hose wagons and it is what we require. Tractors for engines and hose and ladder trucks, 60 to 80 H. P.


As to efficiency of apparatus, this depends entirely on conditions. Eighty-five ft. ladders have been the longest we have been able to get for use in our department. A larger extension ladder I am sure can be built by the manufacturers. It is difficult in many cases to get the present standard 85 ft. ladder truck around some of the corners. It would be necessary to build the ladders so that the over-all length of the truck would be less than that of the nresent 85 ft. ones.


The motor apparatus is far in advance of the horse drawn apparatus in this line. This has been proven without doubt, but how long motor apparatus will last no person knows. When you are figuring motor apparatus depreciation, this point is very essential. Steamers are good for 35 years as a rule with only one replacement of boiler and I believe that a twelve-year limit is fair for motor engines. We are not going to buy any more horse drawn apparatus for we are going to motorize the entire department. This is an indication of our opinion as to motor fire engines.”

There being no discussion on Chief Kenlon’s subject, Mr. A. D. Fancher delivered his paper on “Treatment and Care of Fire Hose.”

The topic “The Proper Care of Fire Hose” is an old one and naturally I can but reiterate what has been said many times before, and it may seem presumptuous on my part to advise the older members how to care for their .hose, but may be of service to some of the younger members and esnecially newly organized companies. I wish, however, to state that the following directions for the care of fire hose refer in a general way to cotton rubber lined hose, with more direct application to white cotton hose, plain or antisepticallv treated. Modifications of or additions to these rules, may be suggested by the makers of hose possessing distinctive features, but as a whole 1 am confident that these general rules have withstood the test of time and will, if followed, secure for users of fire hose the greatest longevity.

Directions for the Care of Fire Hose.

Do not allow hose to remain in wagons, or on reels, if wet or muddy, remove all mud by washing or brushing, and expose hose to air. in towers or on racks, preferably at full length to dry. Acetic, ammoniac or metallic contents of mud or the other deposits of fire hose are more or less injurious to hose. It is not well to allow hose to remain on apparatus for any great length of time unused. It snould be removed occasionally, hung up in towers or on racks on the floor or on the sidewalk, so that fresh air can ciiculate freely trnernally and externally and water should be run through the hose before replacing it on the appatatus. Short bends or kinks in hose, either when stored away or in use, should be carefully avoided. When necessary to store hose ui folds, the folds should be changed occasionally to avoid permanent “set” ot hose. New hose when received should not be allowed to remain in the packing cases ar.y longer than possible, but should be removed from the cases and the coils loosened. Unless hose is to be stored in a freezing temperature, it is unnecessary to entirely drain the water-way, as the rubber lining is not injuied by dampness within, but on the contrary is benefited by the vapor thus produced and it will add to the longevity of hose to pass water through it at frequent intervals to moisten the rubber. Ordinary antiseptically treated cotton tire hose will absorb more or less moisture and if frozen stiff should not be bent for packing in wagon, when in that condition. Extreme cold will have a slightly deleierious effect on lubber, which is natural to that substance, but not sufficient to prevent the storage of hose in cold houses if the hose is thoroughly drained but not necessarily to the extent of allowing the inner surface of the hose to become dry. On the other hand, it is decide ily more important that hose should not be store i where the air is hot and dry. but if such conditions are unavoidable, it is advisable to “wet up” the hose internally every month or so. When fire hosd is being used be careful to observe that the section nearest the hydrant or engine is not becoming chafed at the point of contact with the ground by vibration. Acids and ether chemicals, oils, iron-rust, etc., fumes arising from some processes, are injurious to hose, and contact with them is to IKavoided. When discharging or recharging chemical engines or extinguishers, see that solutions used do not come in contact with hose.


Paper by M. J. Burke.

Mr. M. J. Burke also prepared a very interesting and instructive paper on the same subject which was read by Chief Collins in the absence of Mr. Burke. He said in part: Do not allow hose to remain in wagons, or on reels, if wet or muddy; remove all mud by washing or brushing, and expose hose to air, in towers or on racks, preferably at full length, to dry. Hose, if antiseptically treated, will not mildew or rot if given ordinary fire department care but continued dampness is injurious to cotton fabrices. Mud often contains metallic or other substances that are chemically injurious to hose, if permitted to remain on it. Do not permit bee to remain on apparatus for any great length of time when not used. It should be removed, hung up in towers or on racks, and replaced with a fresh supply. Avoid short bends in hose that is stored away. When necessary to store hose in folds, the folus should he changed occasionally. to overcome permanent set of hose. When new nose is received do not allow it to remain packed in cases until it may be required, but remove from cases and loosen coils. Unless hose is likely to encounter a freezing temperature, it is not necessary’ to perfectly drain the water out, as the rubber lining is not injured by dampness within, but on the contrary is benefited by remaining in a moist condition, and all rubber-lined hose should have water passed through it at frequent intervals, to moisten the rubber. Hose when frozen is laiblc to crack, if bent while in that condition. Extreme cold causes a deterioration of rubber, but not sufficient to prevent storage of hose in cold hose houses, if thoroughly drained and dried. Avoid exposure of hose to very hot, dry air. It should not be stored where exposed to the sun’s rays. When hose must he kept in hot and dry places, it is best to pass water through it monthly. W hen fire hose is being used see that section nearest engine or hydrant is not being chafed at point of contact with the ground by vibration. Acids and other chemicals, oils, iron rust, etc., fumes arising from some processes, are injurious to hose and contact with them is to he avoided.”

“Fire Alarm Signal Systems for Small and Large Cities and Villages,” by Arthur L. Tinker was then read. He said, is part:

Municipal Fire Alarm Service.

This subject is so familiar by personal experience to the great majority of the members of this association that 1 can hardly hope to say much which will be new to you in the way of description of the fire alarm telegraph service. I have, however, recently seen the report made by the United States census for 1910, which gives statistics which I believe will be of interest. The first fire alarm telegraph was established in Boston sixty-four years ago, and although the necessity of this service is so universally recognized, you will probablv be as nuicli surprised as I was to learn how many municipalities with a population of twenty-five hundred or more there are in the United States which are still without this most important public utility. The census table shows that in 1910 there were in the entire United States fourteen thousand one hundred and eighty-six incorporated cities and towns having a population of twenty-five hundred or more, and that there are only eleven hundred and forty-nine such cities which have a fire alarm telegraph system. These figures therefore indicate that only about eight per cent, of the total number are thus equipped. If tlie statistics covered the New England States, New Jersey and New York only, it would probably appear that fully eighty per cent, . of of all all places places having having twenty-five hundred or more population were provided with a fire alarm telegraph service. Remote Western and Southern States are the localities which make the poorest showing in this respect. It is evident that the great State of Missouri, with a population of 3,300,000, “needs to be shown” the great value and importance of a fire alarm telegraph system, because they have only five systems, while Massachusetts with the same population has one hundred and twenty-six. Massachusets and Missouri show the greatest contrast in this respect. I am sorry to say that the State of New York as compared with Massachusets and New Jersey makes a poor showing in this respect. Massachusetts with a population of 3,300,000 has one hundred and twenty-six, and New Jersey with a population of only 2,500,000 has eighty-two, but New York with a population of 4,500,000 outside of New York City has only one hundred and five fire alarm telegraph systems. It would seem therefore that much remains to be done before the example set by Massachusetts and New Jersey is fully lived up to in New .York State. All the gentlemen present must be very familiar with the great movement that has been going on throughout the United States during recent years in equipping their fire departments with motor apparatus. Their motive in doing this is most commendable for the purpose is to save time in responding to alarms. Strange as it may seem, I know of some communities which have expensive motor anparatus but no means for utilizing it promptly because of the absence of a fire alarm telegraph. You all know how extremely valuable chemical apparatus is if it can be brought to bear upon a fire in its early stages, and how useless it is against a fire which has attained any considerable headway before its arrival. If there are here present the chiefs of any departments which are as yet without a fire alarm teleoranh I hone that the figures which I have given about the much higher development of this service in other states may be of them, and of assistance in placing the subject before their municipal authorities. It has sometimes been asked how large should a town be before it requires a fire alarm telegraph. Our stand in this respect is to consider that a community of any size which has an organized fire department and a public water stm’d” is large enough to warrant the efforts of a fire alarm missionary. As illustrating this I will say that Massachusetts has twelve towns with a population of two thousand and under having a fire alarm telegraph. New Jersey has twelve with two thousand and under, and New York has only nine places of this class which are equipped. I will not undertake at this time to (five a general description of the fire alarm signal service, but will call attention to one feature in which there has been of recent years great improvement. I refer to the method of giving public alarms in places where there is no paid fire department, and consequently a public alarm is necessary. When the fire alarm telegraph was first established and for quite a number of years thereafter, the only means known for giving a public public alarm a’ was in striking the box number upon large bells, located in church or other towers. This form of alarm is still in use and probably always will be in small communities where a bell is available. It was soon found that under some conditions and in many localities a bell alarm was not always adequa*”, and the sounding ot the alarm upon steam whistles soon came into quite general use. This form of alarm remain’s very satisfactory where the essential conditions for it can be relied upon. The conditions are that there must always be steam pressure of about seventyfive pounds minimum available at all times, ineluding nights, Sundays and holidays. In many communities where no factory steam whistle of this class was available, the steam whistle of electric light and power plants was depended upon. Of recent years there has been a marked decrease in the availability of steam whistles or gongs because of the not infrequent abandonment of steam power by factories for electric power, but more especially on account of the removal of many local electric plants, the necessary power being furnished from a great station from the nearest large city. This decrease of steam facilities and the sometimes inadequacy of bell service made necessary the introduction of compressed air plants for giving public alarms. These compressed air plants were from the first very efficient but were costly to install. The earlier installations of compressed air plants cost as much as $4,000. Since the introduction of the first equipments of this kind, their efficiency has been greatlv increased and the cost very much reduced so that to-day a better compressed air alarm can be furnished, and at less than half the cost of the earlier equipment. Speaking of fire alarm equipments generally we will say that in fundamental principles they correspond very closely with the first fire alarm telegraph as established in Boston in 1851. Improvements in methods and in apparatus have been frequent and continuous, and even at this day the leading manufacturers in this line are unceasing in their effort to still further improve and perfect the fire alarm telegraph system. There is probably not a fire alarm telegraph system in use in New York State or elsewhere which could not be strengthened by the adding of more alarm boxes. In a community where there is no fire alarm telegraph service it seems to us that there is no higher service which the chief can render to his community than to use his best efforts to obtain a fire alarm equipment, and in other cities where the fire alarm telegraph has been established for many years, the chief* doubtless realize the value of progress and improvements in this direction, and use their best efforts and influence to procure them.


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Papers and Discussions.

The next number on the program for discussion was “How to accomplish in places besides first and second-class Cities where the Fire Force is Limited in Number proper Inspections or. What means are suggested for fire prevention? By Chief K. A. Maxon of Gloversville, N. Y., which was read by Chief J. J. Mulcahey, in the absence of Chief Maxon. It dealt with the problem of the chief in a town where the fire force is small. This trouble, the remedy for, according to Chief Maxon, is as follows: “Have a working arrangement with the police department whereby the officers on patrol will make note of hazardous conditions observed by them and make report to the fire department. Inform the community in general that information as to the existence of hazardous conditions may be conveyed in the strictest confidence to the fire department, which will take the necessary corrective action without divulging the name of the complainant. Obtain the co-operation of gas, water and electrical meter readers who make monthly visits to the very spots where inflammable rubbish is most likely to be accumulating. If they will report the conditions to the fire department, the necessary measures can be promptly taken.”

Ex-Chief John P. Quigley, of the State Department of Labor, Syracuse, N. Y.: “The safe-guarding of buildings is, in my estimation, one of the most important tasks of the fire department. The fire marshal’s office being abolished, practically the whole of their work has been placed in the hands of the Labor Bureau. I think that it is safe to say to the fire chiefs that in connection with any trouble they may have with regard to enforcing fire regulations, the State Department of Labor shall be pleased to offer their assistance. It is very likely that the fire chiefs will hear considerable on this subject later.”

“Pyrene as Fire-aid to Fire Chiefs,” was read by Chief Cliton C. Forbush. of the Peekskill department, in the absence of the author. In part the paper was as follows:

“I need rot remind the gentlemen assembled in the Convention of the various epochs in fire extinguishment, dating back to the days of Rome and subsequent to its destruction by fire, when about 8,000 Roman soldiers were assigned to what might be termed “The Fire Police” whose duty it was to extinguish fire; nor continue down the centuries until the first hand pump engine was designed and later improved in many ways, nor to the introduction of the steam pump, and later the automobile gasoline pumping engine. All these things are known to the students of your profession. Fire fighting has become a profession, that to-day taxes the ability of its ablest followers, mentally, and physically, to keep up in the front rank. No longer is it sufficient that a fire chief be big and strong physically, or politically popular; he must have brains, energy, resourcefulness, and be a student of many subjects that have to do with his profession, namely, physics, hydraulics, building construction, chemistry, law, and other matters that come into his daily work. Like all professions, that of fire fighting has experienced many changes, due to new conditions arising, and new lines of thought geing applied to the old unsolved problems. In 1866 in New York the highest building (some new ones then being erected) were but five stories high, and the older chief officers said at first the buildings were beyond the reach of the Department, but along came the lengthened ladder, and later the sectional water tower in its crude form, and buildings went higher and higher, and then developed the standpipes, and automatic sprinklers, the powerful pumping engines, the High Pressure Systems, and so the story goes on,—new problems arising and the progressive man devising means to overcome the difficulty. Very early in the work of fire fighting, it was realized that small fires, if promptly extinguished, would prevent large fires requiring the services of the Fire Department, and besides would prevent the destruction of life or property that might occur between the discovery of the fire and the arrival of the Fire Department. To meet this problem, there was used at first “The Fire Pail,” but this was so often used for other purposes, or empty from evaporation, that the first soda and acid fire extinguisher was hailed with joy as the supplanter of “The Fire Pail.” A few years ago a fire occurred in the gasoline wash-house of a dyeing establishment, located at 87 Sixth Avenue, New York City’, caused by a spark, resulting from rubbing out a silk garment; there were thirty allons of gasoline in the metal tubs, and the ame shot fifty feet high, setting fire to the clothes lines in the yard, which in turn set fire to the main building; this latter fire was easily extinguished. The Fire Department responded to the alarm, and when the chief arrived, all ne could do was to wet down the rear of the main building, and wait for the gasoline to burn itself out. The heat was so intense that you could not go near the tubs; the chief did not dare to turn the streams into the gasoline, as it would have spread the fire into the main building; he did cool the sides oQ_the tubs as much as he dared without upsetting them, and waited for the fire to burn itself out. This was not a new problem; it was an old one yet unsolved, but to-day the progressive Fire Chief meets this problem with a few Pyrene extinguishers and the gasoline fire that in the past was a serious problem fraught with danger to the public and firemen, is now controlled in less than a minute with this new weapon of defense. A most remarkable tribute to Pyrene was the voluntary reduction of 15 per cent, on insurance rates on all automobiles equipped with a Pyrene fire extinguisher. The most remarkable advance in the use of Pyrene came about when the approval of the Board of Standards of the New York Fire Department was given to it. This Board consisted of John Kenlon, Chief of The New York Fire Department; William Guerin, Chief of the Bureau of Fire Prevention, New York Fire Department; George W. Olvany, Deputy Fire Commissioner of New York, and one of its ablest lawyers; Philip C. Farley, Deputy Fire Commissioner, and one of New York City’s most eminent civil engineers—a remarkable combination of men and one calculated to reach the weak spot of any device that might come before them. The records of our large cities show that more than 60 per cent, of our fires occur in the homes of our people, and in that field lies the great work of fire prevention. Hand in hand with fire prevention goes “The Pyrene Fire Extinguisher,” located where most convenient; dependable, and operated readily by a woman or child. You gentlemen owe yourselves and your people the duty of an earnest inquiry into the merits and uses of Pyrene, and I am sure the Pyrene Manufacturing Company will place itself at your disposal for such Chief J. A. Mulcahey—We have an organization in our city composed of schoolboys. They are organzied in companies, and range about 16 years of age. We try to show them the necessity of eliminating the fire loss and number of deaths by fire. We have them inspect their own premises and make reports on same. We have now over 4,000 reports on inspections.


Chief Henry R. Yates—“I agree with what Chief Mulcahey says. I believe, if the chief will get the boys together and discuss these things, it will prove the greatest means of reducing the fire loss. During the past year I have spoken before 27 meetings of various kinds. The children as a rule, when spoken to go home and tell their parents; the result is double. Members of the fire department should go around and talk on these subjects.”

Chief J. H. Espey—“In connection with the fire prevention subject, I think it would be well for us to consider very thoroughly the subject of insurance, for I have in mind a case of a tobacco factory in our city where a fire occurred amounting to a loss of $10,000. The tobacco salvage was shipped to New York, reshipped back to Elmira, refired and insurance collected the second time.”

Chief Mulcahey—“As to the merits of the scheme which I outlined, I have no doubt. The credit for this idea is due to Fire Marshal Harry T. Foley. We took this matter into consideration, and we saw a lot of good in it and had the authorities to insert in the budget for the year a sum to buy badges to give to members. We then went down to the various schools and delivered talks, and also went to work to enroll six thousand boys in the scheme. Their enlistment must be agreeable to both the boys and their parents, also to the school authorities. They take the pledge to do certain things, including the inspection of their own homes. There are usually ten in a squad with one lieutenant. Thirteen firemen, every day in the week, go to make inspections in the various houses to verify the reports of the school children. We have also a clean-up week which proved very successful. Twenty or thirty teams of horses were required to carry the dirt away during clean-up week. Absence from school or negligence of studies is not caused by this organization, for the principal of each school has absolute authority. We propose to organize a working-boys prevention association, and we predict good results.”

Chief Yates.—“To change the subject, do you find, Chief Mulcahey, the two-platoon system hinders in the inspections by firemen?”

Chief Mulcahey.—“The two platoon system has not deterred us in the least.”

Chief Spitzer.—“I think one of the greatest helps in fire prevention in the smaller towns was the fire mashal’s office of the State. It is now much harder to make inspections and have recommendations carried out. In all, it is very difficult to make inspections. Our troubles have increased greatly since the office was abolished. I think, if such regulations as were formerly enforced by the State Fire Marshal’s office were put into effect, it would be a great help.

Eugene Stocker.—“Chief Mulcahey has gone back to the original idea of fire prevention. We cannot bring the school to adults, but we can bring the children to school and by instructing them we are beginning at the correct point. As to building codes, the main trouble is, especially in smaller towns, that a certain party will start building a structure, violating them. He has a number of friends, hut none of them will bring charges against him. They are willing to take a chance and let his building go up. The work of this State Fire Chiefs Association far excels that of any other state fire chiefs association. I have found references to its works in a number of instances in outside cities.”

Chief Collins.—”I agree with what has been said by Chief Stocker. Where fire laws are broken the chief is usually helpless to do anything, or his hands are tied. So often are builders friends of city officials and the chief dare not compel him to make certain corrections in design. I know a case where the chief sent a notice of violation of the fire law, but it was pigeon-holed. Many such cases occur. I know of many reforms which were brought about by the state fire marshal’s office, and I regret that it was abolished. I understand the State Labor Department with which Chief Quigley is connected will take up and carry on this work as carefullly as possible.”

Under the heading of new business, the question of deficiency of $132.43 was taken up. This deficiency was carried from the last meeting. From receipts of the day, all expenses were paid and this deficiency reduced to $22.40.

Election of Officers.

The election of officers resulted in the choice of Chief John H. Espey, of Elmira, for President; Chief T. C. Collin, of Cohoes, VicePresident; Chief Henry R. Yates, of Schenectady, Secretary and Treasurer; Chief Richard Purcell, of Richfield Springs, and Chief Clifton E. Forbush, of Pcekskill, as Directors. All were elected unanimously. After the election of officers, the convention adjourned until 7.30 P. M., when a review of the Peekskill Fire Department took place in front of the Municap Building. The members of the department taking part in the parade received quite an ovation for their excellent appearance and the apparatus was inspected as it passed the visitors and in all the impression was that Peekskill has one of the most modern fire departments of any city, wherein fire protection is in the hands of volunteers. At 8.30, the visitors assembled to partake in a luncheon and entertainment provided by the Peekskill Lodge No. 744, B. P. O. E. An excellent entertainment was provided, the party not breaking up until the early hours of the morning. One of the features of the evening was the miniature fire helmets which were distributed and which all present were obliged to wear during the evening. This started the fun. On Thursday, at 8.30 P. M., the members boarded the steamer for West Point, where by courtesy of Wm. Lane, of Peekskill, a graduate of West Point, the delegation was shown through the grounds of this well-known military academy. Refreshments were served at the officers’ club. After the visit to West Point the delegation was taken to Garrison, a point directly across the river, where the members entered waiting automobiles and were taken to the large plant of Fleischmann Co. Under the direction of Chief Forbush, of Peekskill, a fire demonstration was given by the brigade of the company. An illustration herewith shows the hose-reels pulling into place and hose being coupled up. After these demonstrations, the members were shown through this immense plant, the size of which is clearly demonstrated bthe sketch herewith. Relative to this it may be said that Charles Fleischmann. the founder, made and sold the first pound of compressed yeast used by the American baker. That was in’ 1868—nearly half a century ago. From that humble beginning The Fleischmann Co. has grown. To-day there are ten Fleischmann factories in operation in different parts of the country and they produce over sixty million pounds of yeast a year. The largest Fleischmann plant is situated ** Charles Point, Peekskill-on-the-Hudson, N. Y., a beautiful, ideal and advantageous location. This factory with immense buildings, grain elevators, railroads, wharves, and officers, covers one hundred acres of ground. There are 2,000,000 square feet under roof covering 146 buildings, including a grain elevator with a capacity of 400,000 bushels of grain. It requires 6,000 bushels of grain, corn, rye and barley, to supply the material for each .day’* output. There are over two miles of railroad connecting with the various structures and providing the very best railroad facilities for all points, East, West, North and South. The monthly consumption of water amounts to more than 3,000,000 cubic feet or about 22,500,000 gallons. It requires 5,000 tons of coal each month to keep the fires going. In addition to its wonderful manufacturing facilities, .The Fleischman Co. has one of the finest distributing organizations in the country. This consists of 950 agencies through which personal delivery service is rendered to bakers and grocers in practically every city, town and hamlet. After the inspection the delegates were guests of the Fleischmann Company to a dinner, served on the lawn in front of their offices. From here the visitors took automobiles to Sing Sing where they were shown through what is probably the best-known prison in this country. It was during recreation hour when they arrived, and the prisoners were engaged in all sorts of sports,, mainly, baseball, handball, bowling, etc. Since the resent warden. Thomas Mott Osborne, has een in charge, the fire brigade of this prison has had little to do, for the men are much more contented than previously and do not set fires as heretofore. An example of this may be called to mind when it is known that before these present regulations two fires a week were discovered on the average. At present there are none. As the visitors left the penitentiary, a photo was taken which concluded what is probably the best entertainment provided the members of the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs. For this, credit is due to Chief Forbush and members of the local department and of the officials of the city who ably assisted him. Among the exhibitors of fire appliances at the Convention were the Pyrene Co., Theodore A. Crounse, American-La France Fire Engine Co., who displayed a F’ord car equipped with chemical apparatus for use in small towns. This machine is marketed at a price any village could readily afford.