FIREFIGHTING IN WESTCHESTER COUNTY.

FIREFIGHTING IN WESTCHESTER COUNTY.

To be in the fashion among the elite of Westchester county, N. Y., a man must at least belong to one certain volunteer fire department, which is manned by rich clubmen residents of the various villages or towns most affected by that class. The most correct thing is to own a private fire engine and make runs with it all over the neighborhood, irrespective of the fact that the limits of other volunteer departments are thus invaded.

Among these village and town fire departments is that of Larchmont, whose chief is Mayhew W. Bronson, who may certainly claim to rank high in the firefighting scale. Of the 175 members of that department, whose details are familiar to all readers of FIRE AND WATER, are several who own their own fire engines, while during the past few years all have been kept strictly up to the mark by their chief, who is a most rigid, not to say exacting disciplinarian, and has not himself missed a fire of any importance in his vicinity (or out of it) for six years, and, when the blaze is extra fierce, he has been known to ride up to the scene triumphantly piloting a special New York fire department engine. It may be added that there is a long waiting list of men anxious to be enrolled as Larchmont firemen.

At Harrison, four miles north of Larchmont, Chief Willetts is in command of a similar department manned by some seventy-five young men, residents of the fine houses round about Rye—their number being daily added to. The equipment consists of a double-tank chemical engine, a hand engine, a modern patrol wagon, and a number of pumpers.

Mamaroneck, also, has enrolled a department in all points like those already mentioned. Although not its chief, John R. Hegeman. jr., assistant secretary of the Metropolitan Life association, and son of its president, is a conspicuous figure. He is the Nimrod of the neighborhood, a National guardsman, a member of the staff of General George Moore Smith, an all-round athlete, and a fireman of twelve years’ service. Last year he personally organised the Mamaroneck Hook and Ladder Land company— the name of the organisation—under which title was secured to a piece of property in the very heart of the village, and on which has just been completed a first class fire house, in which is installed one of the latest improved hook and ladder trucks and ail the most modern devices for alarms and quick hitching of horses. Capt. Hegeman, who lives at Orienta Point, two miles from Mamaroneck, has an electric fire alarm telegraph installed in his house. His own apartments are fitted not only with every needed electrical appliance for the first class fireman, but there is the hole in the floor and the pole down which the captain can slide and get off to a fire behind a horse with a record of 2:19. In his barn he has a private chemical engine. The Mamaroneck hook and ladder company has a membership of forty-three, and every one of the members is a taxpayer. One of Captain Hegeman’s most trusted lieutenants is Albert C. Bostwick, the automobilist. Mr. Bostwick also owns his private fire engine, and is reckoned an expert firefighter. The Mamaroneck firemen have their own rigs in which to get to a fire, and, if they fail to get there, they are heavily fined. There are very few fines levied. The villages of Larchmont, Mamaroneck. and Harrison may be said to represent the very heart and centre of the firefighting district as practised by the fashionable element. There is an amateur department at Tarrytown of no mean proportions, and it was successful recently in saving the property of John D. Rockefeller among others. John D. Rockefeller is now an honorary member, as, also, Miss Helen Gould. The membership there, however, is of a more mixed character, and there is said not to be the same amount of enthusiasm among the members. There are also unpaid departments in New Rochelle, Port Chester, and other cities and towns in the county, but they have not made of it pure sport, as have the enthusiasts of the first three named villages.

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