English Opinion of American Fire Fighting.
To an American, the firefighting appliances and methods of the English seem exceedingly inefficient. It is quite natural, therefore, that the American style of fighting fire should fill an Englishman with astonishment.
In his “Reminiscences” in the September Strand, Harry Furuiss, the great English cartoonist, describes a visit to an American enginehouse.
“Suddenly the alarm bell rang, says he, and before I looked round again, seemingly by magic, but in reality by electricity, the halters fell from the horse’s heads, and to my surprise, without anvone being near them, they rushed to their places at the shaft of the engine. There were manholes in the ceiling, through which brass rods were suspended vertically; down these slid half-dressed men who seemed to turn a somersault into their clothes during the descent on to the engine. The harness suspended above the horses dropped on to their backs, and in an instant they were in the street, the engine manned, the fire ablaze, and away the horses raced. Suddenly a whistle from the captain stopped them. It was a false alarm given for my edification Before the engine was back in the station, I was conducted by the captain into the dormitory, where I concealed myself under a bed. Without a grumble the men came up and literally walked out of their clothes, for boots, pants, and everything are all of one piece. These they opened carefully, laid them ready by the side of thenbeds. and very soon were all snoring, fast asleep.