Mayor, Chief and Local Officials to Be Hosts to International Fire Chiefs’ Association Gathering, October 13-16

THIS ancient city of Havana, Cuba, scene of many historical gatherings during the more than 400 years of its existence, is actively at work these days on plans for the annual convention of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, to be held October 13-16, inclusive.

In charge of preparations for the convention is the Hon. Tirso Mesa, new Mayor of Havana and new President of the Cuban National Tourist Commission. One of the first official acts of the new “alcalde” or mayor was to interest himself in the forthcoming meeting of Fire Chiefs, with the result that during the past few weeks letters of personal greeting and invitation have gone out to officials of the Association over the signature of Mayor Mesa.

Working hand in hand with Mayor Mesa and the Tourist Commission is the new Chief of the Havana “bomberos” or firemen, Col. Jose F. Mayato, who, in the reorganization of the administration, succeeded former Chief Villegas. Both Col. Mayato and the Mayor are greatly enthused over prospects for the convention and they are making arrangements to care for more than 2,000 members of the association.

On the program, which has already been drawn up and approved by the Board of Directors of the Chiefs’ Association, are parades, dinners, dances, sight-seeing tours throughout historic old Havana, and a host of other entertainments, including some surprise numbers, all so typically Cuban that they can hardly be compared with the usual convention amusements to be found in the United States.

The Old Section of Havana, Cuba What a glorious time an American 75-foot aerial ladder would have in rounding the corners of these streets.

Actively at work on plans, too, are Austin Williamson, of the Peninsular & Occidental Steamship Company, who is Chairman of the Convention Transportation Committee, and T. B. DeFoe, Division Passenger Agent in Havana of the steamship line. Mr. DeFoe said through arrangements being made by the Florida East Coast and Atlantic Coast Line Railroads, special trains would move the conventiongoers to Key West, Fla., where they will board the new P. & O. steamer, “S. S. Florida,” for the trip to Havana. The new “Florida,” to be placed in service between Tampa, Key West and Havana about June 1, is costing more than $2,500,000 and is one of the most notable additions to the American mercantile marine in recent years. The International Association of Fire Chiefs members will have the distinction of being the first convention travelers carried by the big new ship. DeFoe said that although the convention dates are October 13-16, inclusive, the vanguard of the chiefs is expected to begin arriving on October 12.

The Paseo del Malecon or Sea Shore Drive in Havana

Havana, which during the past few years has become increasingly popular as a location for American conventions, first bid for the meeting at the annual convention in Winnipeg, Canada, last summer. Following extensions of the invitation there, a delegation of officials of the organization, including President Joseph N. Sullivan of Utica; First VicePresident D. W. Brosnan of Albany, Ga.; Second VicePresident R. L. Smith, Pittsburgh, Pa.; Secretary Janies J. Mulcahey, Yonkers, N. Y.; Treasurer Peter B. Carter, Camden, N. J., and Charles E. McGinley, East Orange, N. J., made an inspection trip to Havana in January. After going over plans with officials here, they decided in a New York meeting to accept the invitation.

From a fireman’s point of view there probably is no city in the world so admirably suited for a firemen’s convention as Havana. Here, because of the massive stone construction and the almost total lack of wooden structures, a fire is a rare novelty. In the past year there has been only one fire in Havana which commanded even the smallest amount of newspaper attention and that’s not because a fire here wouldn’t be news. Thus, none of the boys need worry about fire interrupting their convention pleasures, which will be, Mayor Mesa has assured, all that can be desired.

In his eagerness to make the convention one of the most outstanding in the history of the International Association, the Mayor is leaving no stone unturned. He has suggested that if any of the boys have any special ideas for fun and frolic they communicate with him in care of the Cuban National Tourist Commission.

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