MY EXPERIENCES AT THE NEW YORK FIRE COLLEGE
With the consent of the Mayor and Fire Commissioner I was sent by Chief Wright to take a course in the New York Fire College and Drill School and to learn the methods in use by the New York Fire Department in fighting fires, and I want to state that in my estimation the system adopted by the New York Department cannot be outclassed anywhere in the world and the credit is due to Chief John Kenlon, whom I consider the ablest chief in America.
I took the course in the college which is under the supervision of Chief Kenlon himself and a number of deputy chiefs and battalion chiefs, who have all had from twenty to thirty-five years experience in the department. They are men who take a very deep interest in the protection of human life and property and have made it a life study and they are men of whom Chief Kenlon can well be proud. These chiefs take pride in teaching younger men who are to follow their footsteps all they know and this knowledge is backed up by long years of experience. I attended the College during the day and then after supper I would visit the same chiefs in their offices and I was always greeted with a smile and they were always ready and glad to answer questions and I certainly had a lot of them to ask. From them I learned many good points on various subjects such as ventilation, commercial fires, tenement fires, oil, ship and dock fires, isolated buildings, refrigator, ammonia, factory and warehouse fires and many others. The college teachings in fact cover all kinds of fires that can take place anywhere. Another very important feature of the college teaching is the protection of lives; first aid to the injured, those overcome by smoke and gases; the protection of firemen fighting fires; also regarding discipline in fire departments; manual exercises and physical training, such as calisthenics, which are gone through in every company at 9 o’clock every morning. All these things are taught in such a spirit that the men like them and take an interest in them and the result is they have created an efficiency in the New York department that it would be hard to outclass. In connection with the college is flic Drill School in which the practical end of all the college teachings is taught, such as hoisting lines of hose to the roofs of the tallest buildings; how to handle ladders and hose; how to come down life lines and how to bring another person down it; jumping into life nets; how to shoot a life line to the roof of h building; how to take large ladders to and from the roof of a building; how to put up pompier ladders; how to connect all sizes of hose into all sizes of couplings; how to supply the sprinkler and standpipe connections in a building; how to use all kinds of cellar pipes; how to use water tower and deck pipes; how to make the different kinds of knots adapted for fire department purposes; how to use all kinds of tools used in the fire department, such as door openers, lock openers, hose jackets, hose rollers, wire cutters, glass breakers; how to stretch lines of hose up stairways, fire escapes and ladders and many other things in which I took a great interest. The drill school is in charge of Chief Thomas Larkin, one of the ablest drill masters I have ever seen. He has had over thirty years experience in the New York department and he is liked by all for his ability as a drill master and to him I owe a great deal of my experiences. I was assigned by Chief Kenlon to Truck Company 24 on Thirty-third street between Sixth and Seventh avenues, which is one of the busiest companies in New York. I responded to fires with this company and had many occasions -to see the good effect the College teachings had by the way fires arc fought. The experience I had in this way is one I cannot appreciate too much. Chief Kenlon will always be in my memory and I was very proud to become acquainted with a man of his ability. Also I will remember the courtesy received from Captain William Cozine, who is captain of the company I was assigned to by Chief Kenlon. I had many enjoyable evenings with the men in that house; also with Deputy Chief J. B. Martin, who is stationed in that house, and with Battalion Chief Ross, who was the acting deputy in that house and who showed me many courtesies and from whom I learned many important things in the art of fire fighting. I made the acquaintance of a number of chiefs for whom I will always have a kind feeling as long as I live and I hope some of them will make a trip to my city (San Antonio) so that I will be able to make a return for some of the courtesies that were shown me in the New York department. I found all officers and men in the New York department the most pleasant that I ever came in contact with and can not appreciate too much what they did for me. I became acquainted with the Rescue Squad, stationed on Great Jones street and commanded by Captain McF.ligot. It is a company that Chief Kenlon can well be complimented on. One like it ought to be organized in all large cities. I also served on several of New York’s fire boats, becoming acquainted with Deputy Chief Worth, who is in charge of the marine division, and Acting Captain Kelley, and Captain Henry Lakestream, who is in charge of the fire boat “Thomas Willett”, on which I served. All these men arc splendid firemen. Chief Phil Wright has been chief of the San Antonio department for twelve years and a fireman for 25 years and he has worked hard to organize a good fire department and in my estimation he had succeeded. We have 54 pieces of apparatus, of which eleven are of the most modern motor apparatus built. Our city is proud of Chief Wright and it was through his influence that I was sent to New York City to learn its methods in drilling firemen. Ws have a drill school at our central station. Chief Kenlon has the satisfaction that there is one city in Texas that is using New York’s method in training firemen and protecting life and property from fire.