Jump in Fire Losses for April.
There was considerable of an increase in the fire losses during the month of April in the United States and Canada as compared with the previous two months of the year. The increase in April is particularly significant from the fact that there was only one $1,000,000 fire during that period. The losses by months for 1923, 1924 and 1925 are as follows:
In the number of fires whose losses equalled or exceeded $10,000 there was also a very large increase during April as compared with the previous months, there being 566 fires in April, 393 in March, 348 in February and 473 in January. The fires equalling or exceeding $10,000 which occurred during April may be classified as follows: $10,003 to $20,000, 241; $20,000 to $30,000, 86; $30,000 to $40,000, 29; $40,000 to $50,000. 46; $50,000 to $75,000, 44 ; $75,000 to $100,000, 47; $100,000 to $200,000, 34; $200,000 to $300,000, 22; $300,000 to $400,000, 8; $403,000 to $500,030, 4; $500,000 to $600,000, 4; and one of about $1,000,000.
There does not seem to be any logical cause for this jump in losses in the month of April. As before referred to it was not caused by an unusual number of large fires, as there was but one, the losses of which amounted to $1,030,000. It is to be hoped that this is not the beginning of an increase in the fire record which will swell the losses of 1925 to an amount which will exceed that of 1924.
Says the New York Times in part in an editorial, in referring to a bill giving the Fire Commissioner power to retire from active service, on a pension of half pay, any officer or member of the uniformed force who has reached the age of 6o: “This measure is an attack on Fire Department morale. The inevitable results of such a law are obvious. Control of the uniformed force would pass from the Chief of Department, a permanent official, who under civil service requirements must rise through every rank by virtue of success in competitive examinations, and whose main concern is the efficiency and integrity of the force, to the Fire Commissioner, an appointee of the Mayor and subject to removal by him at any time. Every other officer of 60 years and more would be under the most direct obligation, not to his commander-in-chief, but to the Commissioner and to every district leader who might happen to have the Commissioner’s ear. A shrewd Commissioner would certainly not use his new power to retire Chief Kenlon and others. That would merely replace those over whom he could wield the big stick of retirement to keep politically in line for those over whom he could not. Only the independent would go; the docile would remain. The McGarey bill threatens not so much the retirement of individuals as the retirement of the independence, the discipline and efficiency of our fire-fighting force. New York is too proud of these qualities in its Fire Department, and too dependent on them for the safety of its life and property, to allow them to be tampered with.”
Boy Scouts to Aid Monrovia, Cal., Fire Department—The fire force of Monrovia, Cal., is to be augmented by twentyfive Boy Scouts who will be chosen by Chief Harry Steven; for their knowledge of controlling and extinguishing fires, and their ability to serve in emergencies. “Passadena has a junior fire department of fifty hoys,” Mr. Stevens pointed out, “and there is every reason to believe that a similar comp arty of Monrovia Boy Scouts can he trained to give our city similar service.”