IMPORTANT FIRE PARAGRAPHS
A score of men and women were injured and many members of a mob of 2,000 striking furniture workers and sympathizers were hurt in a riot at the plant of the Widdicomb Furniture Company in Grand Rapids, Mich., recently. Several of the injured may die. After a fierce battle with revolvers, clubs, stones and missiles of almost every description, in which the policy were badly beaten, a fire engine company attacked the mob with streams of water, and succeeded in quelling the disturbance to a certain extent. Many women were active among the rioters. The trouble started when a mob of about 300 men, women and boys attacked a closed automobile driven by Ralph Widdicomb, of the furniture company, who was taking several strikebreakers from the factory. A squad of reserves was rushed to the scene and soon began firing, and the fire was returned by the rioters. Several police officers were knocked senseless by missiles hurled by women. Mayor Ellis made a fruitless attempt to quell the riot before the fire department was summoned. A terrific battle ensued as the firemen began to lay their lines. The mob was finally broken up and the strikebreakers were spirited away.
With the order of a prearranged fire drill, 1,300 pupils marched out of the Eighteenth avenue public school in Newark, N. J., last week, many of them past a roaring tongue of flame that had sprung from a wrench spark and a leaking gas pipe. The children broke ranks in the street only when the cry of “fire!” alarmed their parents, and frightened mothers poured into the streets to claim loved ones. The defective pipe was supposed to have been turned off a year ago. John O’Brien, janitor of the school, was investigating the leak to-day, and, finding it at the joint, he attempted to tighten the coupling. A spark from the wrench in his hand started the blaze. The alarm was sounded by Marry Marks, truant officer, who was entering the main door of the building. S. Erwin Mann ess, principal of the school, sounded the alarm in the building, monitors took their places, at word from the teachers, and when Patrolmen Heitzenroeder, Arnold and John Brown arrived from the Fourth Precinct Station, a block away, the children were quietly descending the stairs. The patrolmen shouted that there was no danger. The entire school, including the annex, where there were 500 more pupils, was dismissed without indication of excitement.
The Baltimore, Md., Star says: “Baltimore’s fire department was never at a higher state of efficiency than to-day. The board of fire commissioners and Chief Horton have been working indefatigably to this end, and their efforts have been uniformly successful. Only recently there has been installed a card index fire alarm signal system at headquarters, and every firehouse, whereby the location of every piece of apparatus is easily ascertainable, and their movements at successive alarms of fire are indicated so clearly that there cannot be the slightest confusion anywhere in the department. Within a few months the high pressure pipe line service in the business section will be in operation. The new fireboat, made in accordance with plans worked out in the department, is a veritable triumph of efficiency, and, with the pipe line system at work, no city in the world will have better fire protection than Baltimore. It is particularly pleasant to be able to point to excellent administration in this department at a time when the fire board, than which no city commission has abler or more earnest workers, is being subjected to a criticism as apparently venomous as it is assuredly undeserved.”
In a recent issue of the Syracuse Herald, the following, in connection with the proposed new fire alarm system appears: “It looks very much as if, after two years of delay in supplying Syracuse with a new fire alarm system, an inferior system is to be installed. In its local columns yesterday, the Herald threw some interesting light on this subject. There seems to be substantial ground for the allegation that the ordinance relating to the matter recently adopted by the board of aldermen not only permits, but invites the installation in this city of a central fire-alarm system which has been condemned by the National Board of Underwriters. This matter will bear looking into. There are unpleasant rumors afloat in connection with it. Whether these are true or not, the well-nigh unanimous judgment of our people will be that if Syracuse is to acquire a new fire alarm system, she should get the best. And if the wili is not lacking, a way can be found to do it.”
According to the Government Geological Survey Chicago was the leading city in the cost of wooden buildings in 1969, reporting a total of $13,538,880. San Francisco was second with a total of $12,257,683. Reading was the only city mat reported no wooden buildings erected. New York reported 823 permits for buildings of wood, costing $3,697,555, an average cost of $4,492. These were almost entirely in the borough of the Bronx In Philadelphia only twenty-four new wooden buildings were erected, at a total cost of $38,000. New York reported the construction of fire-resisting buildings at a cost of $181,918,337, or 27.78 per cent, of the total for this class of structures. Chicago was second with a cost of $79,105,000, or 12.08 per cent, of the total. New York was the leading city iu new brick buildings and reported a cost of $151,832,438, or an average of $60,395 a building; Brooklyn was second with $51,747,760, an average of $6,564; Chicago was third with $51,145,400, an average cost of $8,581; and Philadelphia fourth with $30,653,580, an average cost of $2,956. In stone buildings Chicago was the leading city and reported 83.69 per cent, of all erected and 57.08 of the cost of these buildings, with an average cost of $7,965. New York was second with an average cost of $111,677. San Francisco was third with an average cost of $149,086. The leading city in the number and cost of concrete buildings was Chicago, which reported 519 buildings, costing $9,894,800, or 32.31 per cent, of the cost of all concrete buildings. The city ranking second in cost of concrete buildings was Seattle, which reported $2,872,400, or 9.38 per cent, of the total, followed closely by Philadelphia with $2,014,300, or 6.58 per cent, of the total.
Minneapolis is about to rehabilitate its fire department, and for that purpose the city sent Chief Ringer out on an observation tour. The chief paid a visit to Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, Portland, Vancouver, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Winnipeg and other cities which are known to have up-to-date departments. In connection with the street gongs, a system of electric flashlights at downtown corners, which are to attract attention nights during a fire will be considered by Chief Ringer. In Vancouver. B. C., the chief inspected the motor-driven fire apparatus for which that city is famous, leading all America in that respect. Chief Ringer has an idea of combining a system of street gongs and lights, high pressure waterpower by direct service from a central station, which is to furnish the special power needed during a big fire, in place of the fire steamers, and motor-driven hose and ladder trucks. In Winnipeg, a central plant furnishes the high pressure for fire purposes. The engine which supplies the pressure is not in service for domestic purposes at any time and always ready for fire uses. The system is so satisfactory in Winnipeg that steamers have never been deemed necessary. Chief Ringer will urge the city council to purchase four pieces of motordriven apparatus, and will make many other SIIBgestions based upon what he has found of special importance in the cities visited.
James R. Canterbury, former fire chief of Minneapolis, Minn., was found not guilty of grand larceny in the first degree in the Hennepin county district court. Mr. Canterbury practically was carried out of the court house by his friends following the verdict, which was accompanied by loud cheering. Mr. Canterbury was accused of purchasing a lot in Minneapolis after he had learned that the city wanted a repair shop site for the fire department and had voted so in a committee meeting, of which the fire chief was a part. The property w-as purchased bv Mr. Canterbury from the Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Companv for $6,000 on the nnr tial payment plant. The deed was duly filed. Then he sold the land to Mrs. Sarah Guile, a relative for $6,500, and the deed was filed. Next Mrs. Guile sold it to the city for $9,000. It was the contention of the city that Mrs. Guile was used as a blind to cover up the Canterbury ownership. When the trial came on the defense denied this, bringing evidence tending to show that former City Attorney Frank Healy, who had testified he knew nothing of the various deeds filed, did know of the deeds, and through him, the city’s agent, the city knew that Mr. t anterbury formerly owned this site, thus eliminating false pretenses. Furthermore, Attorney Albert H. Hall and Ins assistant, John Bernhagen, introduced evidence that in the deal with Mrs. Guile Mr. Canterbury made a purely business transaction at a gain of $500, and that he had nothing t0 do with the sale of the property to the city, this doing away with the agency.
A tire patrol of Seattle, with careful inspection of all buildings and an accurate record of the information obtained, will be provided for in a recodification of the ordinances, as agreed on recently by the mayor and the safety committee of the city council. Under the plan of patrol the firemen of each district will make inspections of the buildings. In this manner not only will conditions of the buildings be ascertained, but the firemen will become familiar with the interiors of all the buildings within their districts. This fire patrol and inspection will be under the charge of the fire marshal, who will report daily to the fire chief. Records will be made in dupli cate and one copy sent to the building superin tendent. Where necessary changes will be noted and ordered made, and the condition and adequacy of fire escapes and standpipes will be recorded, and ordinances pertaining to the unloading and handling of high explosives will be redrawn so as to provide specific places for the unloading of dynamite and other combustibles. An ordinance also will be drawn regulating the toring of fireworks.
There is a proposition up before the councilmen of the city of Tampa, Fla., and it is being vigorously pushed to eliminate all shingle roofs, not only in the so-called fire district but in the entire city. A meeting was held this week, and a committee appointed to frame up the proposed ordinance for the consideration of the council. The Tampa fire department is behind the proposition, and there is every indication that Tampa will at an early date be conflagration proof, so far as shingle roofs are concerned. It will be a long step forward. The shingle roof should be outlawed in all cities, particularly in the South, where the long, hot summers render them more combustible than where the humidity is greater during the hot season. The Tampa fire department is in splendid condition, being equipped with two steamers, three auto combination chemical and hose wagons, and other apparatus. There is a direct water pressure of fifty pounds normal, of which is raised to ninety pounds during a fire. There is an ample supply of artesian water for fire fighting purposes.