Latest Fire News.
The French Academy of Science has been notified of a process by which celluloid may be rendered non-inflammable through the use of an ether silicate instead of pure ether. This will greatly reduce fire hazard in factories where celluloid is made or used.
When Commissioner Waldo entered the trial room in fire headquarters Thursday, May 5, he was surprised to find that there were no cases on the calendar. Never before had a trial daypassed without some complaints being heard, the weekly average often ranging from twenty-five to thirty cases.
The latest Federal government report in relation to fire departments gives the total expenditures made by various cities for this purpose during 1907 as follows: Cleveland appropriated $754,753; Detroit, $798,915; Cincinnati, $624,711; Milwaukee, $640,000; New Orleans, $352,001; Washington, $640,280; Minneapolis, $411,000, and Jersey City, $297,920.
About sixty veteran foremen and assistant foremen will leave the New York fire department next month. They will retire on pensions. The board of estimate has granted an increase in salaries, thus increasing pensions, and the oldtimers, for one reason or another, have determined to take advantage of the increase. Their places will be filled by younger men.
Chicopee, Mass., has the smallest fire loss in the state, among cities of the “20,000 and over” class. According to statistics recently issued by the National Board of Fire Underwriters, the loss in Chicopee was 58 cents per capita; in Lawrence, 60 cents; North Adams, 69; Northampton, 75, and Springfield, 84. The largest losses occurred in Lynn, where the loss per capita was $3.06; in Pittsfield, where the loss was $3.42; in Boston, $3.60; Gloucester, $3.83, and Salem, $6.65.
When Director Morin of the public safety department makes his annual report to the Pittsburg councils in July he will make several prop ositions which will, if adopted, cause many important changes in the civil service system of selecting men for the fire department. The most important is that the mere passing of a mental examination does not qualify a man to employment in the service. He must, first of all, be physically filted.
The police of Jersey City, N. J., have in custody a self-confessed firebug, and they believe he has started other fires than those he has admitted, He is James McKenna, 22 years old, of Jersey City. His only excuse, he said in his confessions, was that he could not control a nature craving for excitement. He admitted starting eight fires during the last few months, some of which resulted in serious damage and narrow escapes from loss of life.
Public school No. 74, in Brooklyn, had fire drill on June 22. which was witnessed by Fire Commissioner Waldo and a number of friends, the entire party being chaperoned by District Superintendent George C. Strachan. Not one of the 1,100 pupils in the building had any knowledge as to what was coming, and when the alarm was sounded they made an orderly exit. Commissioner Waldo, who kept the time, said that the building was cleared in one minute and fiftylive seconds. This is considered exceptionally quick time.
Criticism of casualties among firemen at recent New York fires has resulted in an order from Commissioner Waldo which makes every truck company in the department a sort of ambulance and hospital corps. The crew of each truck is receiving a thorough course of lessons on how to render first aid to injured firemen overcome by smoke or otherwise injured in a burning building. Each truck is also-obliged to carry on its run to a fire an assortment of surgical supplies that may be useful.
It is said that the fire marshal frequently has no knowledge of many small New York City fires for which public alarms are not given; yet he may be interested in a larger proportion of these fires than of others. The New York Board of Fire Underwriters is kept informed on the results of the work of the fire marshal, who now asks its co-operation to the extent of furnishing the information asked for on a blank, which is being sent to the members of the board. It is particularly desired by the board that members notify the fire marshal of fires coming to their notice which are not reported by the fire patrol or the fire department.