FIRE DEPARTMENT OF JERSEY CITY.

FIRE DEPARTMENT OF JERSEY CITY.

Chief Conway reports that the system of men-at-call has bee abolished at Jersey City, N. J.—permanent men taking their place. During the twelve months ending December 31, 1897, there were 439 alarms for fire, being an increase over the preceding year of fifty-two. Notwithstanding this increase, the loss by fire amounted to but $181,234, being $243,960 less than the previous year, or a decrease of about fiftyeight percent. This showing speaks well for the efforts of the department, which is further evidenced by the fact that a voluntary reduction of ten per cent, in the rates of insurance for the city has been made by the fire underwriters. There has been organized in the year past a new engine company known as No. 15, which is located temporarily in the horse hospital on Belmont avenue. Negotiations are pending for the purchase of a suitable plot on ground in the Marion section, and as soon as possible a new house will be erected for its use. The number of apparatus has been increased by the purchase of a new steam fire engine and hose wagon. All of the engines, wagons, and trucks are in good condition, The condition of the hose could not be better.

The department is well equipped with the latest devices for fighting fire and nothing has been left undone by the board to increase its efficiency. The recommendations made by the chief for a new truck in the vicinity of Summit and Sip avenues, additional companies in lower Jersey City,in Greenville, and West Bergen, are approved and commended.

The report of the fire commissioners concludes :

In conclusion, we desire to express our appreciation of the good conduct and discipline of the department during the past year, and commend officers and men for the skill and efficiency displayed by them in the discharge of their arduous duties.

FIRE DEPARTMENT OF JERSEY CITY.

FIRE DEPARTMENT OF JERSEY CITY.

On January 2 Chief Conway, of the fire department of Jessey City. N. J., while on duty at a fire in that city, in which six. persons lost their lives, received very serious injuries from which he has scarcely yet recovered. While he was temporarily laid aside, the fire commissioners, smarting under the criticisms of the press, without consulting Chief Conway, made certain changes among the chiefs of battalion,

a thing (says Chief Conway in a newspaper interview) unprecedented with my predecessor. The present board doe. rot seem to consider it advisable in making changes such as they have recently made with the battalion chief, to consult those who have learned by practical experience in fighting lire what is best to be done. If there were less politics in tile department. it would be in much better condition than it is. The one great trouble with the present management of the department lies in the fact that men are appointed or transfeircd at the whim of the politicians and without regard to the efficiency of the service.

In consequence of these changes Chief Conway is now compelled, as chief of the department, to ride from headquarters to every fire in the city, and the city is now obliged to pay for the horse, wagon, and salary of a driver for each battalion chief, and they are allowed to remain in their houses, while he must be at every fire in order to turn in a second and third alarm, if necessary.

When I was president of the fire board (said Chief Conway) and a change as radical as the present ont was contemplated, it was never made without consulting the chief, who was expected’to be closely in touch with the needs of the department. If there were less politics in the business (continued the chiel) our department would be much better. My rluties not only consist of attending to the business of the department. but a great responsibility rests upon my shoulders as fire marshal. The captains of the several companies are compelled to keep posted on the buildings in which inflammable materials or explosives are stored and to repoit all cases to me. and I then make an investigation. My rep rts are filed with the commissioners. This takes up considerable o f my time, as does the supervision of bouse moving and the erection of buildings.

Politics enters largely into the conduct of the department, and this is in no small degree responsible for the present condition of the fire fighting force, which, Chief Conway intimates, is not up to the standard demanded by the importance of the city and the risks within its limits.

The Great Eastern building recently burned at Spokane, Wash., with ninety-two feet on Port street, and eighty-four on Riverside avenue, was a regular fire-trap and death-trap. The only cellars were shallow dug-outs, and the boilers were close to the floor, with only a thin piece of tin nailed on the beams above it. It had well holes from top to bottom to carry light from an enormous skylight. Except for the outer wall,all its big area was wood. Spokane’s splendid water supply and efficient department held the fire from the adjoining buildings.

At Exeter, N. H.. suitable fire limits are to be established and laws enacted prohibiting the erection of frame bui.dings within the mercantile section of the town. The fire department under Chief Gooch has won the praise of ali the property owners for its efficient service in the past.