Mount Vernon News
Fortunate discovery of a blazing potato sack in the storehouse of a James Butler grocery store in this city, on last Friday night, prevented a serious fire and a loss of thousands of dollars’ worth of foodstuffs. The burning stack was just inside a double barricaded door and it is believed a cigarette carelessly dropped outside the door, caused the blaze.
As is the case in several other cities throughout the country, the paid firemen of this city are seeking an increase in salary. Although no stated demands have been made, as yet, complaints are many regarding salaries now being paid and many citizens are behind the men in their efforts to secure an increase. There is a peculiar situation here, however, that prevents the granting of an increase without first changing the city charter. The charter calls for a yearly fire department appropriation of onetenth of one per cent of the assessed valuation of the city and out of this must come all money for supplies and salaries. The one remedy in this city is to have the charter changed and this can only be done by an act of the legislature, which cannot come much before January of next year. There is no indication of any strike here, but inasmuch as the paid men have affiliated with the American Federation of Labor, it is believed that the labor organization will assist Fire Commissioner Edward Havey in presenting his plea to the board of aidermen of Mount Vernon, with relation to having the appropriation of the fire deoartment increased. At present, $42,000 is allowed the fire department, and besides salaries, seven fire houses, and nine pieces of fire apparatus must be maintained on this allowance. The rates of supplies are also enormously high.