Greater New York Fire News.
The building code discussion has again occupied public attention. It has been chiefly remarkable for the interchange of very abusive language between certain aldermen representing, as is claimed, the two rival companies, which are most deeply interested in the passage of the codes recommended by the majority and the minority representatives in the commission. The scenes have been by no means edifying and go to prove that, while a new and amended building code should take the place of the defective one at present in vogue, it would be infinitely better to keep to temporarily till a new commission is appointed, the members of which will be able to avert from each the suspicion of being influenced by any outside political parties or manufacturing concerns in which either political party is interested. The wordy war, which at one time seemed destined to degenerate still further and become a free fight, of course, stood in the way of any progress being made at the public hearing held in the beginning of the week, which was a source of delay, so far as concerned progress in arriving at any decision as to the merits of the two reports, and of disappointment toe many realty holders and people interested in nigh buildings, who were present to listen to and speak on Unstandpipe section. As to this section: The not impossible idea seems to prevail that, just as in the case of the terra-cotta vs. concrete dispute, and the matter of certain paints or coatings to be usetl, if the new code passes with this section, the manufacturers will be unable to meet the demand, and that whoever controls the patents will be able to make big fortunes for themselves and their families without any trouble. Representatives of companies who manufacture such pipes were on hand. They declared emphatically that, there are many ways, and not only one, of successfully operating standpipes from the street, as provided in the proposed code. One offered to make a test, installing the four systems alluded to. tlie Board of Underwriters to pay the cost of installation and give $2,500 to the Firemen’s Benefit fund; if not, those he represented would pay the cost and give the $2,500. A member of the committee said he was authorised to state that all its members seemed to he agreed that standpipes were niecesscary for buildings of certain occupancy and certain height, or buildings deemed dangerous by the chief of the lire department; but that a logical and reasonable demand had been made at the meetings against a broad general order that all existing buildings have them. The cost would he excessive. The section really contains a “joker.” It reads that every standpipe must he built over and so arranged that it may be operated from the street level. Standpipes as erected today are operated from the various floors, and there are a number which may be connected with the tire engine and the water pressure thus obtained induces a revolving motion of the nozzle on the same principle as that of a patent lawn-sprinkler. But the device specifically mentioned in the proposed code requires that the operator shall stand on the street-level, when using the apparatus, and that his station shall be so protected from tire that he may work in safety. This means nothing more or less than that he and his levers must be inclosed in a fireproof box, which, if access to it is not instantly obtainable, will be uselesv ” Battalion Chief \ illiam T. Reggin, of the city’s tire department, appeared as the representative of Commissioner Hayes and Chief Croker, was very guarded in his statements. He expressed the belief that the provisions of the proposed code were not definite enough as to fixing authority for the protection of life and limh. He believed that the best way to tight a fire is from the inside of the buildingif the firemen can get there. He added that he believed it was possible to operate a standpipe in any particular floor from the street, but expressed, under crossexamination, the belief that it could not be done with the same degree of certainty as from within the building. He said that he had seen the proposed system in operation in a coal-pocket. The Allied Real Kstatc Interests association has vigorously taken up the subject of amendments to the code, “such as it is believed ought to be mibodied in any building code in order that the same be fair to all and for the best interests of the city, and that time he requested sufhcknt to formulate and submit such proposed amendments. Petitions for the adoption of these and other amendments will be presented to the board of aldermen, and it is more than commonly reported that, ull after the elections this code wall be kept in abeyance, if it is not altogether dropped. It is feared that it may prove something more than a mere handicap to the existing dominant party in the city. Whether or not the code will ever pass is questionable. There is no doubt that the widespread opposition to some of the provisions of the code, not only by interested manufacturers, but, also, by societies and organisations of high standing, has considerably unsettled the original determination of the framers and their friends to railroad the code through the board, with the fewest possible concessions, in the shortest possible time.
Chief Croker has completed twenty-five years of service in the fire department, and is to be presented with a testimonial from Fs officers and men. Fire Commissioner Hayes having waived the rule that stands in the way of such testimonials coming from members of the department. Rumor has it that this will prove to be a farewell offering on the part of the men to the chief on his retirement from the service on a pension of $5,000 a year. Me is said to be not unwilling to lay down his office, and it is further hinted that he will take service with the Roebling Construction company—the one most interested in opposing the majority report on the proposed new building code for the city. His cousin, Richard Croker, jr., is a member of the company, and Richard Croker, sr., is said to be financially interested in it. Chief Croker is one of the most strongly opposed to the majority report, which favors the terra-cotta tile fireproofing system. It is commonly reported that some of the deputy fire chiefs have been notified to get ready for a civil service examination. If so, that would seem to show that the chief’s office will be vacant in a short lime. The favorite candidates for the position are said to be Deputy Chiefs Lally and Langford. Chief Croker denies it all.