Jersey City Fire Department Organization Holds Banquet
About nine hundred members of the Jersey City Fire Department, fire department officials and visitors, attended the first annual banquet of the Jersey Fire Department Buffaloes’ Association in that city last week.
The object of the organization, which began its career last June through the efforts of W. C. Riley and others, is to promote good fellowship among the members of the department and to aid them at fires and after they return to their stations. The members are not connected with the department. They are merely business men who have volunteered part of their spare time to improving conditions surrounding the life of the firemen. Through the efforts of the association nearly all of the fire stations in the city have recently been renovated. And, too, these “Buffaloes,” as the members term themselves, arrange for sociables in the various stations in an effort to keep time from dragging on the hands of the fire fighters. Later on it is likely the Buffaloes’ Association will aid the men in gaining a two platoon system.
At the banquet every City Commissioner, with the exception of Mayor Fagan, was present. The affair included a moving picture show and entertainment as well. Over 200 firemen were present, and a fire-gong connected with headquarters was located in the rear of the hall so that in the event of a big fire they could be rushed to the scene. For this purpose a number of motor patrols were stationed outside all evening. A large number of New York battalion chiefs and captains were also present, as well as thirty visiting fire officials from other cities.
Arnold J. Meury, president of the association, acted as master of ceremonies, and introduced Judge Charles F. X. O’Brien, who was the toastmaster. He made a short address, praising the Buffaloes, and then introduced Chief John Kenlon, of the New York Fire Department.
Owing to the lateness of the hour Chief Kenlon made bis address very brief. He said such organizations as the “Buffs” contained many potentialities for good and some for evil. He warned the “Buffs” not to use their organization as a political power and he dwelt on the aid it could extend in helping build the fire department to a condition of 100 per cent, efficiency. He gave a number of valuable tips concerning fire prevention and also placed strong emphasis upon the necessity of firemen abstaining from the use of alcoholic liquor. He highly complimented Commissioner Hague on the condition of the local department. He complimented the Commissioner on his statement, “I will not allow any corporation to import armed thugs into Jersey City to incite honest men to deeds of violence.”
Robert E. Mainzcr, an honorary battalion chief of the New York Fire Department, made a short address. He, too, urged upon the firemen the necessity of practicing total abstinence if they hoped to perform 100 per cent, of duty. He suggested that the Jersey City “Buffs” organize a “Business Men’s and Buffaloes’ Association Fire Department Relief Fund,” the fund to be applied to the purchase of artificial limbs for firemen who met with mishaps necessitating operations for amputation for injuries received while performing duty. He also said the fund could be applied to the maintenance of firemen who had contracted sickness while fighting flames and whose convalescence might be hastened by sojourns in the country or at the seashore. Former Congressman Marshall Van Winkle also spoke. He dwelt on the fire-fighting history of Jersey City, the heroism of the firemen, and the necessity of keeping pace with every new idea and appliance calculated to minimize the danger from fire. Commissioner George H. Brensinger said the present efficiency of the Jersey City Fire Department was entirely due to Commissioner Hague and the confidence the public reposed in him as Commissioner of Public Safety. “Public opinion should sustain Commissioner Hague,” said Mr. Brensinger. Commissioner Frank Hague was given three cheers and a “tiger.” He said he believed the Buffaloes’ Association would help to elevate the fire department in the estimation of the people of Jersey City. He wanted the best people to associate with the firemen, he said, to make the latter feel encouraged to give the best that is in them as protectors of life and property. “I want every man in the department,” said Mr. Hague, “to aid in building up the Buffaloes’ Association, which was organized for the benefit of the people of Jersey City. We must bring home to the minds of the people the good things our fire department is accomplishing. I shall aid you and your association as long as your one purpose is to aid the members of the regular paid department. Politics should not enter into your association. It was my privilege to help have the law passed establishing the Widows’ Pension Fund whereby the widows of policemen killed in the performance of duty receive full pay and pensions for life. I will endeavor, this forthcoming session of the State Legislature, to have this law amended so that the widows of firemen may benefit in a similar manner. It is but a fair proposition in my estimation.”
All the city and county offices were represented at the banquet. Freeholder James P. Meehan received a particularly cordial greeting from the firemen. When he was a member of the Fire Board he established a rule whereby delinquent firemen instead of being find were punished by being denied their regular days off. Mr. Meelan caused this rule to be made so that the families of the firemen might not suffer for the faults of the husband and father. Among those present were: Surrogate James F. Norton, Freeholder James P. Meehan, Judge James P. Dolan, Chief William F. Clossey, of the Boulevard police; Chief M. A. Dunn, Hoboken, N. J.; Chief Boyle, Jersey City; Chief J. Kenlon, New York; W. J. Conran, New York; Fred Shepperd, FIRF. AND WATER ENGINEERING, New York. The officers of the association are: Arnold J. Meury, president; William C. Riley, who started the movement, vice-president; Thomas R. Armstrong, secretary, and Joseph C. Montgomery, treasurer. The banquet committee was composed of Charles L. Britten, chairman; Edward F. Lawrence, M. A. Donnellan, Thomas J. Armstrong, Joseph C. Montgomery, Captain Joseph Norton, Arnold J. Meury and Commissioner Frank Hague.