FIRE EXHIBITIONS AT PUBLIC RESORTS
The Hale Firefighters at St. Louis and McAdams’ Brigade at Luna Park.
It is not difficult to imagine a real fire, as nearly every person has seen one in his or her lifetime, if only on a small scale, but to witness the complete work of a fire department front the striking of the gong until the last victim is rescued from the sixth story of a burning building, is not only novel, but decidedly interesting and exciting. Last week a representative of this journal was present at one of Chief Hale’s exhibitions at the World’s Fair, and was much surprised with the completeness of the show. After the usual stage wait, during which an Occasional strike on the gong in the fire quarters is heard, the expectant audience sees a screen, separating it from the fire station proper, pushed aside and an excellent, gorgeously equipped brass band come forth, playing a rousing march, which causes immediate enthusiasm among those assembled. Behind the band is Chief Hale in his buggy, followed by the firemen, marching four deep. The apparatus, in immaculate condition, comes next; then are seen the diminutive fire horses which receive their share of the applause. The apparatus consists of steamer, combination wagons, hook and ladder truck and the “Cosmopolitan” engine drawn by two of the smallest fire horses in the world, and a diminutive truck similarly propelled. The procession passes round the arena a second time, and, as the chief comes opposite the grand stand, he is greeted with tremendous cheers, at which he raises his gold-braided cap in acknowledgment and passes along in the procession. The length of the inclosure is more than 500 feet, and, as the last piece of apparatus and the firemen disappear in the distance, the cheers of the thousands present follow them into their retreat. The lecturer now tells of the deeds performed by the trained horses and firemen in London and Paris, as introductory to the next item on the program. The gong strikes, when two splendid teams attached to wagons come rushing down the inclosure; hose is laid and great streams are thrown from regulation size nozzles, with the water furnished with remarkable quickness from the high-pressure hydrants close by. The fast hitching with two teams which follow is so quick that the seconds are very few between the time the gong sounds and the horses are ready for the run. An exhibition of quick coupling creates much interest, the operation occupying only eight seconds. The audience is greatly interested in the performance of the trained horses Buck and Mack. In response to the gong, they run to the middle of the inclosure and place their feet on pedestals placed for that purpose, and at another signal return to their stalls. Again they come down the track, and rush through door frames all afire, and await the signal of the gong before returning to quarters. These and other samples of the perfect training of the horses and men are given, after which follows a perfect exhibition of pompier drill. In this the men ascend a five-story building, and descend by liferopes with remarkable agility. In fact, this part of the show is, without doubt, as fine a display of pompier ladder work as it seems possible to produce. An interesting cinematographic representation of the life of a fireman is given, from the time of his leaving home for duty until he is seen struggling through fire and smoke with a senseless body in his arms. The last part of the program consists of a very realistic representation of a building on fire and the rescue of people from every story. A fire starts in the building; the alarm is given; and the whole department comes down the inclosure, with steamer whistles blowing and the clanging of bells. The hose is laid, and ladders are extended. Soon water is pouring in on the different floors, while the lifesavers are at work taking people down by life-lines or catching them in nets, and others are carried down on the firemen’s shoulders. When the fire is supposed to be under control and most of the firemen are on the ground, a form appears at one of the top windows screaming for help. Again the ladders are run up, and the rescue is made amid the loud cheers of the audience. Chief Hale’s show is a very unique one.
FIRE EXHIBITION AT LUNA PARK.
It seems that, in order to make a public outdoor entertainment profitable nowadays, there must be a fire exhibition. This is the case at The Louisiana Purchase Exposition and two shows at Coney Island. To give a poor fire exhibition would be worse than to give none. Considerable expense must, therefore, be primarily gone to in the ourchase of apparatus, and secondly, in maintaining a sufficient corps of men and good horses to carry out the production of a fire scene as near the real thing as possible. That Captain McAdams has succeeded in arranging such a realistic display is a fact of which he may well feel proud. The details of the whole show are as near perfect as one could well imagine them to be. A street scene in Brooklyn is shown, with a block of houses and a six-story hotel on the corner. Business is carried on in the stores, and crowds are passing to and fro along the street. A trolley street car running in opposite directions, and different kinds of vehicles, business and pleasure, fill the thoroughfare. and produce a very realistic effect. In the centre of the block of buildings is a paint store, where a large business seems to be carried on. Soon the strains of a band are heard, and in a short time the street is crowded, and at the windows of the houses and hotel heads are seen, as the volunteer firemen come along dressed in their red shirts and pulling the old machines after them. There is great enthusiasm as the old boys jog along, and the people continue their cheers until long after the procession has turned the corner, and its march is continued on another street. Soon after this effect dies away, an explosion takes place tn a paint store, and soon the whole building is in flames. The alarm box is pulled, and in a short time the street is filled with engines emitting smoke and blowing their whistles, until one is almost made to feel that it is not a mock fire scene after all. Up goes the water tower, and in an incredibly short time the firemen are ascending ladders and carrying hose lines. The fire keeps extending from floor to floor into the adjoining buildings and the third story of the hotel. The pompier men now show their prowess in rescuing people from the burning structures, and women drop front the highest stories into the extended nets below. It is truly a fire scene, and the audience is worked up to a genuine pitch of excitement, which could be realised only by witnessing the destruction of a block of buildings and the saving of life at an ordinary destructive fire in the city. So it is that, while other attractive shows at Luna Park fail to draw, the fire exhibition always has its benches crowded. There is certainly a good reason for this. The public esteem the firemen, and the hazardous work they perform always produces a kindly feeling towards the men who may be called upon at any time to save life at the greatest risk to their own. How many brave fellows go down day after day in the faithful discharge of their duty! Is it any wonder then, that the public’s desire to honor the firemen is always apparent?